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Filling the Body Bags

Unit 3 Project

spenser davis

on 28 April 2010

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Transcript of Filling the Body Bags

WITH CONSUMERISM, RHETRICKERY, AND PACKAGING Consumerism ties this entire commercial together, using the business of tobacco as a basis for the group's guerilla activities. The heart of tobacco is its industry, and the group making this video is trying to attack the core of the problem. The packaging of this video is very important. First, the van in this video with "truth" painted on the side, not only suggesting that they are presenting the "truth" to the viewer but also representing the group that put the video together. This group has previously made anti-tobacco statements in their commercials, and most of their viewers are expecting it. The image of the body bags within the video are extremely important to the overall message, and they definitely can be deconstructed in many ways. The packaging of using the symbology of body bags to represent the bodies of tobacco users is very powerful, possibly even more so than actual bodies. Rhetrickery is very important within the usage of a guerilla group to report the information of the group making the video. The man with the bullhorn asks "Do you know how many people die from tobacco each day?", this brings to attention the corporate lack of morality that goes into the tobacco industry. The rhetrickery is more within the tobacco industry, and the video is trying to call to attention that rhetrickery. This image brings to mind consumerism in the way that it provides the point of the video in showing the viewer the sheer amount of bodies that represent how many people tobacco kills per day in the midst of a skyscraper--representing corporate America. Yet another use of the rhetorical targeting of consumerism is this shadow of corporate America looking down upon the acts that the group is committing on the street below. The video is hoping to call out these corporate tobacco makers on what they truly are--death dealers. Packaging means to wrap a message up in a way that suggests or tells the reader to believe something or take a particular course of action. This body bag that is being dragged with a tie dangling from the top is a very key metaphor in the packaging of this video--this body bag is meant to represent the average person, and more specifically, the average businessman. Underneath this wrapping (or within the bag), this shows the vicious cycle that corporate America cannibalizes itself through products like tobacco. Its own businessmen fall into the consumer culture of cigarettes, and many subsequently die every single day. Just as Wayne Booth suggests in "The Rhetoric of Rhetoric," these people have banded together to fight this media rhetrickery that is present in the marketing of the tobacco industry. These people have used media to fight back against the years of pro-smoking we have seen in movies and TV, and they know that the same people that were coerced into smoking can also be shown the negative effects in order to stop. The greatest symbol, and the completion of the message of the entire video, is packaged for us right here. There is no greater example of packaging than symbolism, and here is the symbolism of 1200 body bags piled up outside of a tobacco corporate office to represent the 1200 people that die every single day of tobacco use. Instead of actual bodies or representative violence, the makers of this video have used the powerful image of generic body bags that can't be differentiated to represent the cold, disinterested apathy that the purveyors of tobacco have towards the people that their products kill on a daily basis. One of the only text images used in the whole video, the use of this sign held up by a protestor within the video serves the purpose of fighting consumerism because of the placement of the video (i.e. downtown area, corporate) by turning away not only people on the streets but also casual viewers of the video. If one missed the entire video and only saw the end, they would see the most important part of the message. It is said within the video, but reinforcing the facts can never hurt, and it helps the numbers stick out in the viewers' heads even more. All three methods of dissecting this video are visible in this final shot. The buildup of the entire video is complete, with all of the 1200 body bags laying in the street in the seeming valleys of this urban landscape. It fights the consumerism of coporate America and the tobacco industry by undermining the power and authority held by this major tobacco company, even in the company's own consumerism-based element. The packaging of the whole video has come together in order to have the viewer unpack the symbolism of all of these body bags piled up in this spectacle of metaphor. And finally, the normal rhetrickery of media and even politics is undermined by this very obvious stunt pulled by an anti-tobacco group that hopes to end the rhetrickery based stranglehold the tobacco industry has on consumers. The main use of image in this video is of the body bags that represent all of the people killed by tobacco every day
The sounds used in the video include the ambient noises of a downtown area--which reinforce this idea of consumerism being the basis for the tobacco industry and its activities
Rhetrickery, or using rhetoric for deceptive means, is mainly used as an example of something to be fought against--such as the media's seemingly pro-tobacco stance in movies and TV.
Consumerism is at the very root of what this video is trying to say, because its this consumer culture of tobacco that is killing people. The activists making this video are hoping to counter this corporate greed and inhumanity, in order to save lives.
Packaging is very important in the construction of this video--the way it is put together is vital to getting the producers' point across. The symbolism is carefully managed in order for the viewer to see that the body bags represent dead bodies, and therefore reach an emotional response (ethos) when coming to this realization. Without careful packaging, the idea of this video would be lost and would not serve any purpose.
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