Segments in this Video

Mass-Produced Public Images (02:35)


In America, mass-produced images fill the everyday world and our innermost lives, and they shape private thoughts and the public mind. Image inundation is primarily linked to consumerism rather than intrinsic meaning.

Public Life as a Media Show (01:31)

Visual media have taken center stage, shaping the public mind with powerful tools of fiction that both please and deceive. At stake are language and a sense of meaning, ideas of history, democracy and citizenship, and our notions of beauty and truth.

Aesthetics vs. Logic (03:40)

Visual advertisements and commercials present a world of imagery that has no room for logic. Images seduce with visions of perfection—nearly all print ads have been touched up because computer imagery allows for complete alteration of reality.

Photographic Images (05:01)

Is a photograph "legal reality" as it once was? Most people still accept that photographic images are representations of reality. Editors at "Self" magazine preview photographs that will specifically appeal to their target audience.

Mythic Imagination vs. the Marketplace (03:15)

The most persuasive form of imagery is that which touches basic, primal feelings rather than thought. The art of primitive humans expresses more than purely utilitarian purposes, yet today's dominant images promote sales rather than "salvation" or higher-level human instincts.

Creation and Recreation of Image (05:58)

Today, looking like a star is the goal rather than being a star. For minor celebrities, the way to become somebody is to become an image first. Advertisers appeal to the desire that women in particular have to recreate themselves in the image of—another image!

Fantasy of American Life (04:19)

Americans spend time and money "investing" in their images, in the "construction of a front." In America, images are for sale—any image to anyone who can afford it. Democracy is no longer representative, but only a representation.

Media: Landscape of Images (05:57)

Early in the 20th century, PR and advertising emerged as industries in themselves. Television carries the images of products into the "eyes' mind," as advertisers shape Americans' popular visions of culture.

Television: Vicarious Imagination (03:46)

Music videos demonstrate the power of vicarious imagination—someone else creates the fantasies. MTV is the first all-commercial station in which the program is the commercial. Ironically, it also sells commercial time on a program that is all commercials.

Advertising Truth (05:46)

The Presidency is a visual spectacle; for example, Ronald Reagan's image was much more acceptable than his policies. The law of the market dictates that the truth is that which sells. Construction of news programming is designed only to create the largest possible audiences to view the commercials.

News as a Product (02:49)

Images play on the irrational, the fears, and the uncertainties of modern humans. Broadcast news appears on television as if it comes from a giant command center, filled with video monitors and high tech equipment, granting greater credibility to the “news.”

Images and Stereotypes (04:17)

Images empower us, and they please us as consumers of images and products. Media images can also be manipulated to support government and political agenda. News reporting creates powerful stereotypes through images, as demonstrated in a photo montage of Ronald Reagan.

Images and Doublethink (02:32)

Orwell's concept of doublethink explains the ability of images to create both recognition of the truth and acceptance of the deception. Individuals must use their conscious intelligence to negotiate the images that surround them.

Visual Literacy and Image Consumption (03:10)

Young people must understand the ability of images to speak. Values, priorities, and meanings are embedded in images; thus, it is essential to learn about the vocabulary and grammar of images, and to think critically think about both surface and underlying messages of cultural images.

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Consuming Images

Part of the Series : The Public Mind
DVD Price: $99.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $149.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $99.95



This program looks at a society inundated with visual images. From billboards to bus stops, from rock videos to newsstands, mass-produced images have become the very air we breathe. What is this cultural atmosphere saying to us and about us? Why should we care? Ever since the pioneers of public relations and advertising spoke about the "engineering of consent," social critics have analyzed its effects. For some, it reveals pure manipulation—the appropriation of language and meaning, the trivializing of life and thought. For others, it is the dawning of a new era—the printed word is dead and art and commerce are now joined in ever more sophisticated ways. (60 minutes)

Length: 58 minutes

Item#: BVL4932

ISBN: 978-1-4213-6430-8

Copyright date: ©1989

Closed Captioned

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