The World According to Renee

Views, Reviews, Randoms and More…

The Ego-Centricity of New Media

Recently I wrote some web copy for a company that makes personalised children’s gifts and toys. The aim of the copy was to impart how fun and special a gift is when it has the child’s name on it.

Anyone with kids knows this to be true. It’s even more special when the gift has the exact spelling of the name… but don’t get me started on that! Although my name is not unusual, it was uncommon when I was a kid and I didn’t have anything with my name on it. My friends Amy, Stephanie and Melissa all had necklaces, notepaper, pencil cases and pencils with their names on it, but I was left out. These days, it is easier to find products with my name on them (I have a mug from Movie World with my favourite cartoon character and my name!) but does having personalised products make you ego-centric?

I blame the internet. Everyone can have a blog (like the one you’re now reading), multiple social media sites and a web presence (otherwise known as a Google footprint). Do I think people read my blog? Yes, I know they do- the stats on the Dashboard tell me so. Do people read my statuses on Facebook? Do they read my Tweets? (probably not since I haven’t bothered with Twitter for over a year!) Why do I care?

For me, writing a blog is a way of keeping in touch with my friends and clients (potential, current and former) as well as getting my thoughts out of my head so I can concentrate on other things. Randy Gage uses his blog as a way to sell his courses, books and other products. He’s the top of his field at what he does (former copywriter and now motivational speaker on creating abundance). For so many other people, a blog is a way to publish their own weird and wacky stories. There is so much garbage on the internet, because people now have a voice to share it with the world. These ideas aren’t new, there’s just another way to reach a whole new audience.

People crave attention. From the moment we do something awesome like catch a ball, calling “Watch me, daddy!”, we are creating a need to be noticed, prove we are special, a reason we stand out in the crowd. Personalised gifts do indeed make us feel special, a trend which continues into adulthood as we move into social media pages and blogging. Somehow, in the midst of all this, our ego is being fed with each comment, reply and viewing of the page.

You love me! You really love me!

July 26, 2011 Posted by | Thoughts & Reflections | 1 Comment

The Anti-language of Film

For context, I’m currently studying Screen History at uni, which focuses on the Westerns genre of film. One of the required readings was about the language used in Western films, and it was interesting enough to send my blogging on a Saturday afternoon.

According to Jane Tompkins, the actions in Westerns are the focus, not the words. Only actions and objects count, not the talking. Often within the Western genre, any talking is usually a put-down. It’s a pity I didn’t read this at the beginning of the unit, I’d have paid more attention to the films to see if it was true.

In any film, the plot is usually driven by talking. For example, Limitless is narrated by the lead character Eddie Morra. At the beginning of the film, he is standing on a ledge, about to jump to his death. Through his narration, the viewer is led through the circumstances that led to this moment. As with these sorts of films, the plot takes almost the whole film to reach that first point. In contrast, a film like Die Hard is just about the explosions. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

In Westerns, the plot follows a very narrow band of story (unless it’s a genre crossover, but that’s another story) and this is, in part, what defines it as a Western. Bad guy + good guy + shootout = justice prevailing. The hero of a Western speaks actions: “Put down that gun”, “Go on, shoot”, “take the horse”. Westerns attempt to communicate with minimal words, which is interesting because the Western is arguably the most well-trodden film genre (have a look on youtube for early Westerns such as The Great Train Robbery). Maybe fans of Westerns are there for the scenery and not the chit chat? (With the Coen brothers’ True Grit, I was definitely only there for Matt Damon…)

Tompkins goes on to say that males in both Westerns and society don’t say much; language is reserved for females. When a cowboy doesn’t speak, he is sexy, virile and full of integrity. The Western genre is a revolt against language, making the anti-language inherently male as opposed to the Victorian era of femininity and romantic languages (never mind that Victorian literature was dominated by male novelists…) In essence, not speaking shows the hero as having power over his self, his emotions and his situation. Clearly this power is essential in the Western genre… how else would we expect the hero to win?

This brings me to the point of this entry: how do real life females expect our men (or heroes) to communicate? Sure, chocolates and flowers speak volumes, but what about their voice? With regards to film, do we subconsciously equate a “talkie” film such as Limitless or Inceeption  with a thinking movie? Are audiences getting smarter with the advent of time?

Tompkins, JP ‘Women and the language of men’, West of Everything: The Inner Life of Westerns. Chapter 2, pp 47-67

July 23, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Words Are Powerful (well duh)

Everyone remembers something someone once said to them. In almost every celebrity interview, you’ll find the question “What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?” People also remember the bad words- who remembers being bullied at school or being told they’re stupid?

Today I had my hair cut. As the hairdresser chopped off those locks, I heard the voice of my first boyfriend say, “You’re so vain…” This stems from a phone chat we had after I’d gotten a haircut and I said I liked it, I thought it looked nice. He told me I was vain and to stop looking in the mirror (which I wasn’t doing, but how would he know? We were on the phone!) Strangely, I hear this every time I have a haircut. So if I see a hairdresser every three months (give or take), over 17 years, that’s about 68 haircuts, so 68 times I’ve heard this voice tell me I’m vain because I like the new hairdo.

Don’t tell me words aren’t powerful.

Words are overused and misused and can hurt. They can stick with people for a very long time (I’m not talking about the written word either) or they can be said in jest but remembered forever more. Not just the hurtful words and the advice, but small things that probably shouldn’t be remembered. If I called that boyfriend today and asked him, he probably wouldn’t remember telling me that (never mind that he spent half an hour every morning getting his own hair just right!) Words do count so choose them wisely.

 

 

July 5, 2011 Posted by | Copywriting, Thoughts & Reflections | Leave a comment