“Greetings, rebels to King George, and curious others. A watershed moment in public-postering has occurred recently and I’ll link to the website and the specific article that got me to thinking on these things.
Headlines and posters are similar. They are everyday Rorschach-tests. You know, ink-blots…
Few Words and Maximum Impact. In short, they get-in-your-face.
Both are meant to either psych-you-IN (into reading further, in the case of headlines) or…psych-you-OUT if it’s a truly clever poster. Such writer/designers want to jolt you OUT of your lethargy, complacency, or both, on some particular matter. They probably want to spur you into, say, activism of a sort, even if it’s just to get a few more of your brain-synapses fired-up right then.
So both of these everyday “writings” seek a reaction and from your own experience you probably already know news-sources and even popular magazines often publish ambiguous or worse, misleading headlines. In my opinion the misleading ones are the worst because rather than outright lies, these calculated writings usually contain a grain of truth – but a grain is not the whole.
Headlines that mislead certainly get that first reaction and a little bit more. The writer hopes to lure you in and then content you with a reading of the first couple of paragraphs. These will likely confirm the headline but all too frequently if you’ll just persist to the end of the story that very same headline will be proven to be a dishonest distortion or worse, a dangerous or damnable lie.
Ambiguous headlines or posters are related perhaps, but in my opinion are a much more sophisticated form of the “psych-you-out” attention grabber.
Normally in the “news” or “information” business confusing people with tricky titles to sucker them into reading further wouldn’t be a good thing. It would damage any straightforward & reliable reputation they might have built. If such sources want to shape opinion or generate trends by misleading their readers they can accomplish a lot more the old-fashioned way described earlier.
The poster and billboard businesses, however, are a part of another game entirely. Creative ambiguity in these one-shot graphics will for sure get that desired reaction, but…it will also get additional reactions depending on how many “meanings” can be taken from their single message. And what that does is a beautiful thing. That particular poster-designer has just netted – or engaged – that-many-more times the audience than would have been drawn in by a NON-ambiguous version of the very same concept.
And isn’t that the point of a poster or a billboard?
The poster that prompted all this pondering has at least two meanings that I can decipher. Maybe there are more. It states in unadorned black text on white: “Domestic Violence…Women are half the problem.” A website is included in small print at the bottom.
What this “ink blot” says to you – and of course how you then react to it – as with all Rorschach blots reveals an awful lot about several very personal things. It reveals something of your foundational beliefs, something about your day-to-day assumptions, and your vocalized or physical reactions reveal your modus operandi when confronted by such ambiguities. Especially when any of the “meanings” challenge your current paradigm or worldview.
Was yours an angry kneejerk-reaction? A “How dare they (blame the victim)?” Or were you curious? Did you think, “Hm-m-m, I wonder if that’s really true…I’ll check it out?”
Or were you momentarily confounded, perhaps, but then saw both of these possibilities and thought, “Wow. I wonder which they actually meant…I’ve got to check it out.”
Until next time, Stay Curious & Keep Rebelling!”
Find this YouTube video HERE.
The Men’s Rights Website (A Voice for Men) and original article HERE.
The feminists respond to the posters with outrage HERE. The writer/headline editor invites readers to “JOIN THE DEBATE: Posters cause outrage at Monash Uni” but they quit posting the “joiners'” comments the same day – after only 35 (mine never made it).
Gee…I guess they didn’t like the fact that the tide of opinion on the matter was turning against their intended message. The article, which clearly FAILED in its attempt to drum up additional faux-outrage, actually had the gall to contain multiple double-speak gems including the following quote by “(Monash) University spokeswoman Stacey Mair”…
“A university by its nature is a forum for a broad exchange of views and commentary and we do not seek to censor the expression of views.”
Sure, Stacey. You simply get media-whores to TRY to do it for you. Um-m-m, this time? FAIL!