Item description for Battle of Symbols: Global Dynamics of Advertising, Entertainment and Media by John Fraim...
This highly relevant new book addresses current American news and events from the perspective of symbols and symbolism. The real 'battle of symbols' began long before September 11; in a sense, it bears similarities to the American Revolution. In any case, we find ourselves in the most news-saturated period of American history and this work contributes fascinating insights into the state of today's world.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.5" Weight: 1.3 lbs.
Release Date Jun 1, 2003
Publisher Daimon Verlag
ISBN 385630620X ISBN13 9783856306205
Availability 0 units.
More About John Fraim
John Fraim currently resides in West Liberty, in the state of Ohio.
Reviews - What do customers think about Battle of Symbols: Global Dynamics of Advertising, Entertainment and Media?
Towards Understanding Symbols Jul 4, 2003
It has become a cliché in modern communications theory that perception is everything. Mass media create "views" of things and events, which are governed by a contest between symbols since the difference between contents is negligible ... Coke and Pepsi, Chevy and Pontiac, Walmart and Sears, Harvard and Yale.
John Fraim's brilliant, witty and entertaining Battle of Symbols might, nevertheless, take the title of The Marketing of Soft Power. The emerging new paradigm of power, soft power, as John Fraim defines it, is the power of the information age, which replaces the hard power of the passing industrial era of economic growth. Fraim comes to this subject with background as the president of GreatHouse Company, a marketing and consulting firm. He is widely published in marketing and psychology journals.
Fraim quotes Joseph Nye from The Economist to the effect that "modern power has less relationship to the reality of resources and more to the hyper-reality of images and perceptions." The events of 9/11 are for Fraim a prime example of the power of symbols to establish and control thought, particularly regarding the question of why America is so intensely disliked around the world. The selfless champions of freedom and democracy (symbolically at least) could not understand the severe clash of symbols set loose in their Arabic adventure into Afghanistan and Iraq. Where does this attitude come from? What does it feed on? According to Fouad Ajami, a leading US Middle East scholar, "The Anti-Americanism is automatic, unexamined, innate. To Islamists (America) is a defiling presence; to pan Arabists, the backer of a Zionist project to dominate the region."
The Americans are equally biased. Harvard historian Samuel Huntington expresses the bias perfectly: "The underlying problem for the West is not Islamic fundamentalism. It is Islam, a different civilization whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power."
Others agree with this view. Columnist Andrew Sullivan sees the US engaged in a religious war: "The religious dimension of the conflict is central to its meaning." Islam carries with it symbolic weights and values that abhor the decadence of American culture, or lack of it. The outcome of the West/Middle East conflict will have profound culture impact on both sides whether each side is ready for it or not. The symbolic allegiances will shift.
Fraim deftly reveals the powerful forces of symbolism and their covert global inter-relationships with a page turning excellence of prose style. There is also a vein of choice quotable stuff throughout the book. Battle of Symbols is an eclectic yet focused study of symbol power. Besides the witty description of Islam as a "cool" medium borrowed from Marshall McLuhan and not to argue whether a religion is actually an independent medium of communication, Fraim invokes the best insights not only from McLuhan but also Arthur Kroker Edmund Carpenter, and Donald Theall et al.to add the high seriousness that the subject demands.
Fraim does an excellent job of cutting through the difficulties of information overload quoting pithily from Otto Rank: "For the time being I gave up writing ... there is already too much truth in the world ... an over-production which apparently cannot be consumed." His analysis of the effects of the Internet is rare in its perception especially of its propagandistic role in American political life. Even the dangers in understanding are dealt with insightfully: "There is a great paradox involved with understanding ... Understanding symbols offers the threat of reducing their power. In the same way that greater production leaves less time for observation." The book ends on an ominous demographic note: "The Arab world has a large youthful population while American has a large aging population."
Fraim's message, however, is positive and reassuring even in its deadly accurate treatment of the inadequacies of the present political and economic troubles multiplying from our lack of understanding of how vital it is to have a practical knowledge of symbolic values. I strongly recommend this excellent study to all students of communication.
Soft Power in the battle between East and West Jun 21, 2003
John Fraim has distilled the essence of the conflict between East and West and delivered it to us from many points of view that makes it clear why we are in the mess burned into our consciousness by 9/11.
This is a must read for people who just don't understand why the world seems to hate us.
Unique & intriguing - you won't be able to put this one down May 14, 2003
This is a fascinating report of a time which has forever altered the course of the world, namely the months immediately following September 11, 2001.
Mr. Fraim, whose elusive position makes hime difficult to label or pin-down, analyzed and drew from various media sources almost daily thoughout this time period and what he ended up with sometimes feels more like a "thriller" than an alalysis or report on current events. Ambivalent and highly symbolic photos thoughout the book give this unique piece of work an enigmatic feeling.
If this topic interests you, once you have picked this book up you will find it hard to put down.
The Symbols of Meaning May 12, 2003
Fraim does any excellent, and comprehensive job of covering an important piece of intellectual territory.
In our everyday life we often are oblivious to the impact the manipulation of symbols has on us. Marekting of consumer products, the images of our popular culture and the things we call 'entertainment'. And yes, politics......
All these topics are covered in some detail that canhelp you understand the sublte, and not so subliminal images and symbols which enter our lives everyday.
The last two years has rocked our world with a sharpening conflict of very basic symbols, values and beliefs. Fraim's book is a must read for anyone who wants to elevate thier thinking beyond the reactive mode and truly begin to understand how powerful the use of symbols is in shaping our core thinking, beliefs, attitudes and ultimately behavior--both in the grocery store and the voting booth.
A Brilliant New Perspective on the World May 11, 2003
Symbols increasingly shape our lives but few understand their influence over us. This book offers a brilliant and fascinating primer on contemporary symbols. The author - a leading authority on symbols and creator of the Internet's most popular site for symbolism - takes symbols out of reference books, religions, psychoanalysis, literature and art and places them in the center of popular culture and the global battles being fought today. America is placed at the center of global symbol creation with Hollywood and Madison Avenue (entertainment and advertising) as the great creators of global symbolism, New York media as the communicator of symbols and Washington DC as the great manager of symbols. All of this is explored in the light of 9/11. A brilliant and essential new perspective on the world.