Thomas Frank (Adbusters)
This episode will explore visual cultural and other forces at work that shape human perception.
We’ll start with the tale of Christine Frederick, a housewife turned advertising mastermind who recognized in the 1920s how Taylorism could be used to sell Americans on ideas—and products. Through collaborations with major advertising agencies, Frederick promoted ideological concepts (like patriotism, family values, womanhood) as attainable through appearance and purchasing habits. In the 1950s, this method of tying beliefs and aspirations to products was amplified by the proliferation of television, Madison Avenue and Hollywood. We’ll set this explosion of visual culture against the backdrop of the social sciences and work that identified how human thoughts and behavior could be “designed,” or controlled. These shifts included the Diagnostic Statistic Manual, the American Way Campaign, and landmark scholarship from the likes of Walter Lippman, Norbert Weiner, Hugo Munsterberg and others.