Helpful Resources for Close Reading and Deconstruction from The New Mexico Media Literacy Project (http://www.nmmlp.org): What is deconstruction?
Every media message has been constructed by someone. You can deconstruct media messages by examining them closely and carefully, looking beneath the surface to understand their deeper meanings. A magazine ad, for example, may consist of a photograph, a few words, and a logo. This is the surface, or the text of the message. Meaning is created when we look at the ad; you may think "Using this product will make me more attractive" or "I'll have fun if I use this product" or simply "This product is cool". These messages are called subtexts. Deconstruction is simply the process of examining how the media message communicates its meaning. Any piece of media --a magazine ad, a talk show, a conversation, a movie, a TV commercial, a newspaper, etc.--can be analyzed in this way. Close Reading of Ads: A How-To Guide
Remember three central ideas about advertising:
• Emotions are the key advertisers use to persuade even the most "educated" audiences to consume products and services. Today's advertising is by necessity anti-intellectual, simplifying all subject matter. The advertiser's motto must be "Just do it." Never "Think then do it."
Reasonable, logical, and reflective thinking hinder the emotional, and by extension, the consumptive process. Remember advertisers don't want you to think about it -- they want you to buy it!
• The neuro-physiology of the brain determines the power of text, sound, and image-based media messages. Together, images and music are more powerful than text. When we view images or listen to music, they are immediately stored in more ancient parts of the brain, which are most directly connected to the central nervous system. Images arouse the strongest emotions, and are more persuasive than sound. (Remember the saying: "Seeing is believing.")
• Details are crucial....
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