Chadwick Boseman, left, and Michael B. Jordan lead a mostly-black cast.
A flurry of articles celebrate the release of the Black Panther. Why? What are the rhetorical explanations for its appeal? Audience awareness? Visual rhetoric?
Among the reasons the articles cite are the following. Can your students add others and explain how they relate to rhetoric?
- Black Panther radiates a “near subzero-temperature sense of cool…T’Challa is accessible, awe-inspiring and perhaps most importantly, human.”
- Black Panther is poised to break Hollywood box office records, dispelling the notion that block-busters cannot come from black cultural roots. To do this, it draws on a wide, multi-racial fan base.
- Black Panther provides a lasting visual role model to children of color.
Resources: “A Different Kind of Superhero’: Why ‘Black Panther’ Will Mean So Much to So Many,” https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/comic-riffs/wp/2018/02/09/its-going-to-change-hollywood-why-black-panther-will-mean-so-much-to-so-many/?utm_term=.57cfb059ee2c
“‘Black Panther’ Poised to Shatter a Hollywood Myth,” https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/15/business/media/black-panther-hollywood-diversity.html
“Black Superheroes Matter: Why a ‘Black Panther’ Movie Is Revolutionary,” “https://www.rollingstone.com/movies/news/black-superheroes-matter-why-black-panther-is-revolutionary-w509105
It’s now two minutes to midnight, according to the Doomsday Clock which is maintained by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. Midnight on the clock would be nuclear war. Founded in 1945 by Manhattan Project scientists, the Bulletin uses the powerful visual rhetoric of a clock clicking down to detonation to call attention to the world’s closeness to atomic annihilation. When the scientists change the clock’s position either forward or backwards, it attracts media attention worldwide.
Clock timeline and history, https://thebulletin.org/timeline
“Keepers of The Doomsday Clock Say We’re Now Only 2 Minutes to Midnight,” https://www.sciencealert.com/keepers-of-doomsday-clock-put-closest-mark-midnight-since-cold-war-2-minutes
￼This tote’s designers may have intended to say, “My Favorite Color is Glitter,” but their poor font choice conflated the “G” of glitter with the “L,” turning their design into a statement that most would read as “My Favorite color is Hitler.” A simple change of font would have solved the problem. The bag’s image
went viral on Twitter, with people offering comments like these:
“How did the designers Nazi that.”
“Waking up to see the führer this tweet has created”
In 1968, schoolteacher Harriet Glickman wrote to Charles Schulz about the lack of African-American characters in the popular comic strip Peanuts. Glickman, concerned about the racial tensions in the United States, urged Schultz that an African-American comic character could influence public opinion. See Glickman’s first letter to Schultz below:
Schulz and Glickman exchanged several letters, discussing Schultz’s desire not to offend people of color by seeming to trivialize racial tensions by adding an African-American character. Glickman solicited opinions from some African-American friends and relayed their ideas to Schultz. The two stayed in touch, and Schultz notified Gluckman when the new character would appear in 1973.
Read the article, “How a Schoolteacher Helped Create the First Black Peanuts Character,” for more of the correspondence between Schultz and Gluckman. Identify the arguments Glickman used to convince Schultz. Why do you think she was successful?
Architecture has a long tradition of using medieval grotesques (sometimes incorrectly called gargoyles) and other faces to decorate architecture. Recently, Changiz Tehrani, a Dutch architect, decorated a mid-rise building in Amersfoort with 22 cast-concrete emojis. An article in the Verge quoted Tehrani explaining why he used emoji: “In classical architecture, they used heads of the king or whatever, and they put that on the façade . So we were thinking, what can we use as an ornament so when you look at this building in 10 or 20 years you can say ‘hey this is from that year!’”
What other emoji could you suggest as building decorations? Do you think these images are a good choice to represent the contemporary culture? If you think of them as visual rhetoric, what does the use of emoji express?
Kendall Jenner appears in Pepsi’s “tone deaf” ad that has since been pulled.
Pepsi’s ad staff may have been trying to strike a similar tone to Coke’s famous “Hilltop” 1971 ad However, Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner “Live for Now” advertisement misses the mark with the visual rhetoric choices the sponsors made.
Much of the criticism has focused on the ad’s unrealistic portrayal of a protest march as a pleasant outing, as well as its featuring of a rich and beautiful white model as a hero. Such images trivialize racially-charged issues as well as the protest process.
Edward Boches explains the difference between the Coke and Pepsi ads: ““The ‘Hilltop’ spot wasn’t attempting to dramatize a real event. It was clearly contrived [visually] and invented as a moment. The Pepsi spot is attempting to recreate a protest march and in a very unrealistic way. Two, the promise of the Coke spot was a simple sentiment and a wish. ‘We would like to teach … as in ‘like to.’ It was a wish.”
Instagram Reacts to Pepsi Advertisement
Instagram exploded with meme images such as the two below that satirize the Pepsi advertisement. What is the point of these images? Perhaps that complex and racially charged situations cannot be solved by a Pepsi.