Symbols increasingly dominate international communication. Their power was demonstrated by the events of 9/11 and the war against terrorism. Yet few understand them. Now, more than ever, it is important to understand symbols in a global context.
In his new book Battle of Symbols, John Fraim examines 9/11 in light of global symbolism. While the events of 9/11 represented the beginning of the war against terrorism, Fraim notes “the real ’battle of symbols’ started long before September 11th and will continue long after the fall of the Taliban regime or Saddam Hussein.”
The book observes the response of the American symbolism industry to the events of 9/11. As Fraim notes, the events of 9/11 offered a rare opportunity to observe how American symbols are created (by Madison Avenue advertising and Hollywood entertainment), communicated (by New York media) and managed (by Washington public relations).
One of the more hopeful outcomes of 9/11 was the instigation of an international dialogue about the power of symbols. From this continuing dialogue America and the world have gained a new awareness of the growing power of symbols. Whether this awareness will lead to a new understanding of symbols on a national and global scale is one of the most important questions facing America (and the world) today.
John Fraim is President of The GreatHouse Company, a marketing consulting firm and book publisher. He is a leading authority on symbolism and the creator of www.symbolism.org, one of the Internet’s most popular sites for symbolism. His writing has appeared in a number of publications and online journals including Business 2.0, The Industry Standard, Ad Busters, The Journal of Marketing, First Monday, Spark OnLine, Media & Culture Journal, The Journal of Psychohistory, Anthropology News and Psychological Perspectives. His book Spirit Catcher won the 1997 Small Press Award for Best Biography. He has a BA in History from UCLA and a JD from Loyola Law School.
Picard has added new examples and new data, and he covers such emerging areas as the economics of digital media. Using contemporary examples from American and global media companies, the book contains a wealth of information, including useful charts and tables, important for both those who work in and study media industries. It goes beyond simplistic explanations to show how various internal and external forces direct and constrain decisions in media firms and the implications of the forces on the type of media and content offered today.
This work demonstrates that the paradigms of the landscape are shifting, introducing the digital “glocalization” of entertainment, through which successful media crossing national and cultural borders incorporate both global and local features.
Key questions raised include:Is the ICT revolution an example of disruptive technology for the global media and entertainment industry? Is the existing status quo challenged, and in, particular Hollywood’s global leadership? What are the global entities emerging as Hollywood’s main competitors in this technologically evolving landscape?
Sigismondi argues that as new players are entering the field, new threats to Hollywood’s dominance are emerging. The global leaders in non-scripted entertainment, for example, are European-based global entities operating outside the Hollywood system. Meanwhile, the ICT revolution is modifying the contours and boundaries of the global mediascape. Sigismondi’s approach provides unique insight into how the forces of technology and globalization are transforming television, cinema, and online entertainment.
What if we conceived of ourselves as auditory beings rather than visual ones? Our attitude would shift, and so would our availability to the world, inside and out. Centering in sound entails receptive interaction with the unconscious, a participatory style of consciousness. Rather than “bringing light” to unconscious energies, it means being resonant to it, being alive.
In this delightful, phenomenological account, Kittelson writes in lively pursuit of the language of hearing, an ode to the persistent primacy of the ear.
It’s right here, she says, just around the corner from our noses.
Kittelson’s ear awareness finds side-doors into the topic. She lets us in on a secret as intriguing as Freud’s footnote about the gradually diminishing sense of smell in human beings: we have a lapsed instinct for interiority. For turning inward, for spiraling deep into the dark, for following evocative reverberations to their source. - from the Foreword by Nor Hall, Ph.D.