Subtle manipulation of celebrity images sells to gullible Americans lacking media literacy skills
January 29, 2008
I have increasingly enjoyed the blog, The Last Psychiatrist. It is thoughtful, relevant, and stimulating. The current article has to do with how People Magazine treats the personality of Heath Ledger, the star of Brokeback Mountain, who suddenly died recently on 01/22/08.
I, of course, can't speak for The Last Psychiatrist, but I think his point is that People Magazine wants to hook readers and sell magazines and is not necessarily interested in the truth. Therefore, the reader should beware that he/she is reading a spin that may not provide information that is entirely accurate. I have long been interested in media literacy which are skills rarely taught in schools, even colleges, any more. The Last Psychiatrist makes a good case for readers to get out their media literacy skills and apply them to People's schlock.
Here is part of what The Last Psychiatrist writes:
All of this is subtle, I'll admit. But that's why it's so important to see it. If it was blatant, we'd be arguing it; subtle is a virus, it's unconscious. Individually none of these photos or phrases mean anything, but taken together they signify something; like the use of the green filter in the movie The Matrix.
If you ask, "are you saying People thinks he is gay?" you've misunderstood. People has no interest in the truth; it is inviting speculation, it is causing confusion.
In order for you to understand what I'm saying, you'll have to accept that the media doesn't just select the "best" photos or quotes for their stories, but carefully selects ones that fit their story-- story that's not necessarily explicit.
Link: The Last Psychiatrist: People Magazine Has Something To Tell You About Heath Ledger.