Sample Art Admission Essay on Learning Reflection

In the course of my studies, I have encountered problems that I had not before. However, at the same time, the period has been filled with learning opportunities, from which I have gained valuable knowledge. Most importantly, I have found new and interesting perspectives for viewing the knowledge I had before as well as what I have learned along the way. Of what has sparked my interest the most is the media’s ability to manipulate public thought, potential ability of TV to have a positive cognitive impact, and power of advertising.

The Ability of the Media to Manipulate Public Thought

Part A: Identifying/Framing the Idea

It is common knowledge that mass media can manipulate public thoughts and perceptions, even against the accepted ideals. However, this course has enhanced my understanding of the mentioned role. One of the means through which mass media manipulates thepublic is by creating the notion that Sports personalities are heroes and role models (Rhoden 1). Hence, society expects these individuals to be the hallmarks of discipline, patriotism, and hard work. Whenever the personalities deviate from what society expects of them, they are disgraced. Such can lead to the withdrawal of sponsorships and even the end of careers. The media set this standard for sports personalities when it admonished basketball player Christopher Barkley for saying “I am not a role model” (Rhodin 1). In reality, however, sports personalities’ human and therefore they are prone to making mistakes, and the public is aware of the fact. Nevertheless, it should be noted that there exists a double standard regarding the media-propelled role model quality expected of athletes. While it admonishes some athletes who are implicated in behaviors that are regarded to be contrary to sportsmanship, it forgives others.  The difference seems to be based on whether the person is considered a valuable brand, in which case their disgrace is considered a human mistake. This explains why Nike and the media stuck with Tiger Woods and Kobe Bryant for actions that could have ended another person’s career. The two cases also demonstrate the hold that media has on people’s perceptions since when it ‘forgave’ the two, so did the public (Rhodin 2). The mass media accomplishes manipulating people through the approach it takes to rely on information. By focusing on Colin Kaepernick’s political activism, for instance, the media made Kaepernick’s lack of a contract political persecution rather than a matter of sport, which it may have been (Strauss 1-5).  Reality TV also demonstrates the method, particularly through strategic selection of what bits of the subjects’ lives to show (Rupel 1).

Part B: Integrating the Information into My Life

The important lesson that I take from media’s power on perceptions is how powerful language and images can be in selling an idea to a people. The examples demonstrate that people may not know what they think that they do. Additionally, it is possible to change the opinions of people, even the ones they feel sure about when ones use the right approaches. Sometimes, the methods may be so effective that the targets may not know that their mindsets have been changed until when they interpret something differently than they did before. I think such ability is power and it rests on a type of collective charisma. Of course for the media, this power also has to do with the tools it has and its ability to bombard the public with the same information repeatedly.

I think that the power is not reserved for the media as some individuals have the influence. For example, great political leaders, such as Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill, and Martin Luther King Junior demonstrated this power as they were able to influence the perceptions of people and rally them towards causes.  In recent times, Obama, especially during his 2007 campaign, exemplified might in the art of persuasion judging from his overwhelming victory over his rival. When the race to the white house began, he was not considered a favorite to win the election. From what I have gathered, I believe that individual power begins with the efficacy of one’s language use, that is, the ability to create powerful images and provoke certain reactions in people. As a person I do wish to change the world, even in a small way and for sure, I intend to try using persuasion. I believe that some people who can influence are not aware of it because of failure to try or believe that other means, such as money, are the best methods of influencing individuals.

The Potential Ability for TV to Have a Positive Cognitive Impact

Part A: Identifying/Framing the Idea

The general view has been that TV is terrible for cognitive nourishment. Parents are wary of allowing their children to watch television without limits and even parental supervision. I suppose this fear is justified since TV has some negative aspects, such as addiction. Parents would rather have their children read books than watch TV. Undoubtedly, reading appropriate books is healthy. However, in the “Excerpt from Everything Bad is Good for You,” Johnson (1) makes a surprising argument: that modern TV shows could have a positive impact on the cognitive growth of young people. He argues that it is not true that Tv is not ultimately bad for children. Rather some of the programs aired in them have in the past been poorly made. Using 24 as a template for the production of TV shows today, Johnson notes that the show is much more intricate than previous ones. The show has several subplots within the larger plot, and one must keep track of the former to understand the latter. In other words, TV shows now require intelligence to keep up with the storylines. Moreover, the TV shows are no longer concerned with moral lessons but presenting the world as it is. Therefore, the shows can be said to help young people to be in touch with reality, and this is what Johnson calls the ‘Televised Intelligence’ ( 2) He speaks about a new force in TV shows production, which he refers to as a ‘Sleeper Curve.’

Part B: Integrating the Information into My Life

No doubt, technology has a dark side, but that does not mean that it is entirely bad. Rather, it depends on how it is used. Society has been too fast to blame TV for the negative aspects that they attach to the technology, and there is no question that the traditional formulaic creation of programs has exhibited certain negative features. Too much focus on morals in a world in which even two people are likely to disagree on a number of so-called moral issues (such as abortion and stem cell treatment) may seem like an effort in futility. Indeed, it turns out that it is not TV per se that is the problem, but how it is used. Often, it has been used for shallow entertainment, with content that is extremely sexual, violent, biased, and stage-managed to mention but a few. While I believe that the producers of the show can do better, I do not think that they decide to come up with ‘bad’ shows. I think sometimes they try too hard to be original that they end up producing overly complex storylines. Television often mirrors society, and hence the shows that it airs are to some extent a reflection of what is happening in society. Therefore, there is a need for society to evaluate itself even as it criticizes media. Moreover, personally, I find this case a lesson on the ability what is believed to be negative into positive, what is deemed a problem into a solution. That is an important lesson for adopting new perspectives to look at the world.

The Power of Advertising

Part A: Identifying/Framing the Idea

The power of advertising is another unoriginal issue. Research demonstrates the remarkable ability of advertising to influence purchasing decisions. However, Hood brings in a new perspective in his argument. In the case of sponsor ads during the Super Bowl, Hood finds interesting that the ads have become something that people look forward to. Among other things, Hood seems to be concerned with advertising as art. Indeed, Super Bowl ads, often,  if not always, are known for their exceptional art. Additionally, they remain poignant in the audience’s minds. Hood argues that e argues, that many advertisements seem to overshadow the main event. He argues that what makes these ads powerful is their ability go beyond just the game to generate “powerful and lasting social symbols” (Hood 1). Ads do this through images and language. Indeed, slogans, such as ‘Have it your way,’ ‘Just do it,’ and ‘Be all you can’ seem to speak for and promote the notion of individualism and self-realization, both of which constitute the essence of the American dream. Taking this argument further, Hood (1) argues that advertising, in fact, represents consumer power over producers. Besides, he argues, commercial advertising exists in contexts whereby the consumers have many options to choose from, so that producer must sort of ‘plead’ and resort to the best ways of attracting attention. The question, however, is how this concerns the case of Tiger Woods and Kobe Bryant. Whether one thinks Nike played along the desires of consumers (the money) or overpowered the consumers depends on one’s perception, perhaps.

Part B: Integrating the Information into my Life

Not everyone will agree with Hood’s argument, that adverting is a tool by which producers exercise their power over consumers. Regardless, I think that advertising demonstrates the art of compromise. The creation of an advertisement is not done by just the putting together random elements. Rather, much thought goes into it, and marketers are clever not to offend consumers. There is ample evidence of cases of when bad ads have caused a costly backlash on companies. In this respect, advertisements tend to contain elements or reflect themes that are true to the culture and values of the audience. This has become more distinct in the global marketplace, with companies going to extreme lengths to create politically correct ads in the countries where they operate. It is no surprise, therefore, that a corporation’s advertisements in different nations are usually different. On the same note, I think that advertisements are about ‘meeting’ others at their levels, on their terms. Of course, whenever I am dealing with people, I have objectives that are important to me just as the other party’s goals to them. However, I also understand that achieving my objectives depends on the other party. Indeed, this symbiotic relationship is the nature of the business. Therefore, when practicing my career, I plan to be sensitive to others through considering their business objectives as well as cultures and related values. Doing so is especially important in the increasingly diverse world today. It is a matter of mutual respect.

Works Cited

Hood, John. In Praise of Advertising, Consumers’ Research Magazine, Apr. 01, 1998.Web, 13 March 2018

Johnson, Steven. Excerpt from Everything Bad is Good for You, The New York Times, May 22, 2005. Web, 13 March 2018

Rhoden, William C. Seeing through the Illusion of the Sports Hero, The New York Times, Oct. 22, 2012. Web, 13 March 2018

Rupel, David. How Reality TV Works, n.d. Web, 13 March 2018

Strauss, Ben. The Martyring of Colin Kaepernick, Politico Magazine, Sept. 03, 2017. Web, 13 March 2018