Reading too far into advertising

By Laura Schultz

Editor, the Gauntlet,

Re: “Parting Shots,” Dec. 5, 2002.

I believe that James Keller misrepresented the intentions of the Students’ Union and their fight against differential tuition. Granted that the images selected by the SU and their staff may raise some questions, but the spirit behind them is clearly not misguided as your article may suggest. I don’t think that the SU is in business to promote violence, racism, or an arrogant attitude towards the atrocities committed during WWII and more recently south of our border.

The SU is lucky to have a very professional communications department that works to great ends to help promote the efforts of the student government. Staff members and elected officials are certainly not trying to send subversive messages to the general student population. Yes, we do have to be aware of the message that we are presenting to students and the public, but the use of Rosie the Riveter is to symbolize the mobilization of a united student body fighting against a very serious post-secondary issue–differential tuition. If we were to just idly sit back and create a poster that depicted an image such as Care Bears doing the Care Bear Stare against administration and their iron-fisted plight, what kind of message would that send? Surely we would be labeled by the Gauntlet as a bunch of infantile fools, using nostalgic children’s pop-art as the basis of a serious battle.

I propose a question to you. What would be your campaign slogan, theme, or image of choice for the differential tuition fight?

Finally I would just like to comment on the cartoon on page 28 by James Keller. I think this is a perfect example of what he describes in his article as “metaphor is a powerful thing. …Using an image …aligns them with its images and its messages.” Illustrating Craigie Hall on fire with people trapped in it, is not just a subtle metaphor. I think it is a extremely inappropriate drawing that trivializes the horrors that thousands faced when trapped in their burning graves on September 11. You criticize the Students’ Union for their use of imagery. In the future please refer to your own pages and question the integrity of the message the Gauntlet is trying to make.

Exploiting the pain and suffering of any individual whether by the SU, the Gauntlet or anyone else is never appropriate. Therefore I think everyone needs to take a hard look at any image they appropriate when taken out of its original contextual form.

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