1.5.16

CUT THROUGH THE WORDNOISE.

The point of recondite and obscurantist academic prose is sometimes to sneer at people without doing something as blatant as the thumb to the nose.  Here, from Phi Beta Cons, is an example, from a linguistics post-doc, one Patrick Callier, who has access to the Stanford postmodern phrase generator.
This article critically examines the mass-mediated portrayal of social class and commodity formulation in a corpus of US television advertisements for the Ford F-150 pickup truck, aired in 2007. The use of stereotypical diacritics of white-collar and blue-collar social identities in the ads circulates a representation of class identities as consumer categories, even as the ads’ portrayals of class difference reproduce hegemonic relationships of markedness between ‘middle-class’ consumers and other social categories. Examining representations of different phases of commodity formulation and social voices loosely associated with these phases, I show how various social identities are subjugated to the commercial ends of the advertising encounter, and how the advertisements both induce consumer behavior as well as reshape hegemonic understandings of social difference and inequality.
I think that means pickup trucks haul manure, building materials, and pull horse trailers and motorboats.  Here's Barton Hinkle, attempting a translation.
The subject of this pompous gibberish was TV ads for F-150 pickup trucks. The author is trying to say that truck ads use class stereotypes to sell trucks and, in doing so, they affect how people think about economic and social class.
That "reshape hegemonic understandings" is a fancy way of saying "confirm prejudices."  The article is behind Sage's paywall, perhaps if I want to use my library privileges, I can view it there.  I bet, though, that nowhere in the article is there any discussion of the hegemonic relationship of markedness that's reinforced when a wine-sipping, public-television watching humanities type with a cat named Linda Ellerbee is channel-surfing from WTTW to MSNBC, and catches a glimpse of a pickup truck commercial just enough to praise Gaia that ze is a more refined life-form.

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