Forum C

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Compare the two billboard advertisements above that were distributed across the state of Montana when I lived there by the Montana Meth Campaign.  Based on your reading from Discourses in Place, what narratives are being created in these billboards? How are these narratives created by the represented participants?  How is modality achieved in these billboard?  What are the main indicators of modality in each image? How are they different? Lastly, what kinds of relationships are created between the images and the viewers? How is that relationship created differently in each image?

 

Also, what kind of social control do these billboards attempt to influence?  Who is responsible for this exertion of social control? What ramifications ensue from these billboards that Montanameth.org might not have considered or weighed heavily enough? Do the potential benefits outweigh the potential harm? Do you find these billboards a problematic and/but justified use of public space? Why or why not? Please explain….

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6 responses to “Forum C

  1. The words in the Billboard are clearly narratives of change. The point of the billboard is to show that you do stupid things while on meth and therefore ruin the lives of your friends who are also doing meth. Then again, if you are doing meth but none of your friends are, then I guess you are hurting no one but yourself. However, I’ll dive into that later.

    Because narrative structures “present unfolding actions and events”, the picture of the girl going from having sex, to giving her friend HIV via contaminated needle is this unfolding action. The events leading up to the other girl contracting diseases was her friend having sex with an infected man on what looks like a carpet of weed.

    In terms of modality, I think it is achieved by saying people on drugs, such as meth, are at risk for getting diseases such as HIV or hepatitis from sharing needles. I think this is a truth that many people accept; sharing needles usually leads to blood-born diseases. In each image, we see a girl, looking bruised and battered, restless, oily hair and skin, and an overall look of “drugged” out. I think this is an example of the ‘veracity’ discussed in the text, where they talk about blending park signs in with earthy colors to match the natural semiotics in areas of wilderness. The same thing is achieved here; by showing blown out, dirty girl, having sex with what looks like a much older man on the ground for 15$. The modality is achieved by relating prostitution, disease, degrading actions, and a gross visage to meth. This in turn creates a relationship between the viewer and the image; if you do meth, these things will happen to do. You will be selling your body on the street and ruining the lives of your friends who have already made the decision to take the risk of getting diseases by doing meth. That’s a mouthful of a relationship.

    For the most part, like many anti-drug slogans or images, scare-tactics are used. Anyone viewing this sign gets the sense of terrible things will happen to you if you decide to do meth. While I think it is fairly accurate, especially with such a hard drug, this isn’t preventing everyone from doing drugs such as meth. Scare-tactics have been used FOREVER by people and agencies against drug use. Does it work? Does labeling weed as a gateway drug keep kids away from it? Of course not. People do drugs because it is their choice. They don’t look at potential consequences, but rather the experience. Scare-tactics don’t work. When it comes down to it, it is a personal decision. If I wanted to truly do meth right now, what is stopping me? Is it fears of selling my body to some stranger, laying face down on the ground? Of course not. I think that is a bit extreme. I choose not to do hard drugs because I know they are not good for my body. I don’t think so much about external factors as much as I do keeping my body healthy. I know hard drugs are bad for me, so I will never do them. I don’t need an image of a girl ruining her life to persuade me not to try meth.

    In addition, I think these billboards are also stereotyping those with diseases such as HIV. Of course, their are drug addicts that are HIV positive. This is a common occurrence with addicts who share needles; it is a common fact. However, stating “now we share HIV” on an anti-meth billboard, I think it singles out HIV positive people. It’s creating a stereotype that those with HIV are drug addicts. This is obviously not the case. In the same way HIV was so harshly linked with gays, linking drugs to HIV in such a public space creates more stereotypes.

    With everything said, I think young people doing hard drugs such as meth is a major problem. I’m all for prevention, but at the end of the day, it is up to the person. Reading signs about how bad a drug is isn’t going to turn a drug addict into a sober human being. Likewise, it’s not going to stop little Johnny from trying meth. If he wants to do it, he will. Substance abuse is a personal matter. There isn’t much billboards can do, other then spread awareness that there is a problem, and people are trying to solve it. I think this space could be utilized in another way. Scare-tactics aren’t the only way to prevent drug use.

  2. The billboards clearly give off a signal that there are narratives of change. The billboard is trying to get the message across that smoking meth is bad and that if you do so, you will eventually make more ignorant decisions regarding your life and your friends lives. Therefore the messages of the billboards are that smoking meth will inevitably ruin your life.
    The two billboards coincide with each other. The first billboard is showing that the first girl was on meth and had sexual intercourse with the man and contracted HIV. The second billboard shows that the two friends share everything together including needles, which in turn gave the friend HIV.
    I think that modality is achieved in this by saying that people who do hardcore drugs, like meth, are at risk for contracting and giving blood born diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis. I think that some people just aren’t educated enough about these kinds of things and therefore don’t know and don’t care what could happen to the others around them when they are doing these drugs. These people loose all inhibition for everything and everyone around them. The girls in the billboards look like have been abusing these drugs for a long time. They look beat up, and drugged up, and are really only looking for one thing in the world and that is meth. These girls were hooked on a drug that they didn’t know the power of and now they are drug addicts.
    I think that the relationship between the billboard and the people viewing the billboard is that it is showing how terrible such a thing is and that this might eventually happen to you if you start abusing such drugs. Each one of these pictures shows a different kind of relationship. The first one shows a girl being forced into something that she may not have wanted to do, but would do it any way because of the addiction she has created in her body. The second image shows two friends who did everything together; even meth and now they turned each other into mindless drug addicts.
    These billboards are really there for propaganda; they are trying to keep kids away from drugs. In my personal experience I think that these kinds of billboards actually educate the kids about the drugs. I know that I have seen these kinds of adds before driving through Vermont. I think that these messages put ideas into kid’s heads that weren’t there before. I do find that these billboards are problematic in the sense that some may not even know what crystal meth is and these billboards are telling them what it is. I think that most of these anti drug commercials and billboards just put ideas into people’s heads. Some people are actually screwed up enough to want what these billboards show. If you ask me I think that these billboards should be taken down. I personally think they are doing more harm than good. These billboards must cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to advertise. Couldn’t the state think of a better use of that money than telling people about how bad certain drugs are? Another thing. I’ve never seen billboards showing people how bad heroin, or cocaine, or GHB are, its only Crystal Meth. These billboards aren’t the only way to prevent people namely kids from abusing drugs. I think that the government needs to find a better way to send that message across.

  3. These two signs are conveying the narratives of meth amphetamine addicts. In the first image the viewer is supposed to understand that meth can make people do ridiculous things like sell their body to bay for drugs. Also the facial expression on the model is representative of what the organization wants you as a viewer to take away from the ad. The model in the center looks very rundown, tired, and most importantly desperate. I fell that this sign is trying to convey the message that meth will make you more desperate than you have ever been in your entire life. There is also the aspect that an unforeseen event is occurring in this narrative. By having the male figure standing right behind her, we are supposed to assume that if you become addicted to meth people can and probably will take advantage of you. This is a very large departure from the “primary or default modality” in western culture, which is supposed to be a naturalistic representation. This image is anything but a naturalistic representation. It shows a human in a deranged state of mind being taken advantage of due to drugs, also notice how they are inside on top of a carpet; there is truly no representation of the natural world in this image. Also, we do not associate such a pale face with typical Caucasian women in this country. This again is a departure from the natural, even without the text, one would be alarmed by the picture and probably think that there is something wrong with this issue.

    The second image conveys a different narrative. It is suggesting that peer influence is a problem, and when combined with meth use can destroy lives. We are supposed to assume that the ghostly figure has dragged her friend into a life of meth addiction. In terms of modality, because of the use of facial expression and discoloration we can only assume that the girl on the right has already had her life destroyed by meth addiction. Because they share everything, the viewer is supposed to assume that the girl on the left’s life will also be destroyed. Also, this is again a departure from typical western modality. It is supposed to suggest that there is nothing natural about this image, and because of facial expressions and colorations, meth will destroy lives.

    These billboards attempt to influence people to not try meth. This organization is trying to influence public opinion by instilling fear in people’s minds. While these are powerful images that probably discourage meth use there is one dramatic fail with both of the billboards. That is the placement of the word meth on the billboard. Because the word meth is positioned on the lower right of the poster we associate it with something that is real and new. Although unintended this could give the impression to people that meth use is a widespread activity. And while they will take away that it is a bad decision, the fact that they know lots of people are doing it could negatively affect their decision. This is also in combination with the fact that people could subconsciously realize that there wouldn’t be these billboards unless there was a meth problem in the state. Overall I think that the narratives are so dramatic they will discourage meth use, however; the location of the logo should be changed.

  4. These two signs are conveying the narratives of meth amphetamine addicts. In the first image the viewer is supposed to understand that meth can make people do ridiculous things like sell their body to bay for drugs. Also the facial expression on the model is representative of what the organization wants you as a viewer to take away from the ad. The model in the center looks very rundown, tired, and most importantly desperate. I fell that this sign is trying to convey the message that meth will make you more desperate than you have ever been in your entire life. There is also the aspect that an unforeseen event is occurring in this narrative. By having the male figure standing right behind her, we are supposed to assume that if you become addicted to meth people can and probably will take advantage of you. This is a very large departure from the “primary or default modality” in western culture, which is supposed to be a naturalistic representation. This image is anything but a naturalistic representation. It shows a human in a deranged state of mind being taken advantage of due to drugs, also notice how they are inside on top of a carpet; there is truly no representation of the natural world in this image. Also, we do not associate such a pale face with typical Caucasian women in this country. This again is a departure from the natural, even without the text, one would be alarmed by the picture and probably think that there is something wrong with this issue.

    The second image conveys a different narrative. It is suggesting that peer influence is a problem, and when combined with meth use can destroy lives. We are supposed to assume that the ghostly figure has dragged her friend into a life of meth addiction. In terms of modality, because of the use of facial expression and discoloration we can only assume that the girl on the right has already had her life destroyed by meth addiction. Because they share everything, the viewer is supposed to assume that the girl on the left’s life will also be destroyed. Also, this is again a departure from typical western modality. It is supposed to suggest that there is nothing natural about this image, and because of facial expressions and colorations, meth will destroy lives.

    These billboards attempt to influence people to not try meth. This organization is trying to influence public opinion by instilling fear in people’s minds. While these are powerful images that probably discourage meth use there is one dramatic fail with both of the billboards. That is the placement of the word meth on the billboard. Because the word meth is positioned on the lower right of the poster we associate it with something that is real and new. Although unintended this could give the impression to people that meth use is a widespread activity. And while they will take away that it is a bad decision, the fact that they know lots of people are doing it could negatively affect their decision. This is also in combination with the fact that people could subconsciously realize that there wouldn’t be these billboards unless there was a meth problem in the state. Overall I think that the narratives are so dramatic they will discourage meth use, however; the location of the logo should be changed.

  5. These 2 billboards are separate situations but connected because of the drug crystal meth. The idea of the billboard is to show what could potentially happen if the onlooker is to try meth. I generally do not agree with these adds because they are so extreme and rare cases that I believe it’s misrepresentation. I am in no way an advocate for crystal meth but I believe that they choose the extremes to scare kids out of trying it. drugs and sex are prevalent subjects because it is when kids usually start experimenting with it.

    These adds target the hot topics in teens social life so the kids may identify with the add but then met with a situation they do not want to be in. There are many girls in high school that have sex. However, they do not want to be prostitutes nor sell their bodies for $15 just to buy meth, thus if they don’t want to be in that situation they’ll stay away from meth.

    The second add once again appeals to kids, especially girls, because girls tend to share many things. It’s frequent in the drug world for users that share needles to develop HIV. Thus girls would like to continue sharing things and doing what girls do but they do not want hepatitis or HIV so they will stay away from meth.

    In the end I think these adds don’t do much good because they are extremes and hardcore drugs when it comes down to it is a personal choice and if someone really wants to do meth there is nothing to stop them.

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