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UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Billboard Propaganda

Dear sir or madam;

I am a UMass Boston undergraduate student and recently came across the latest issue of “The Mass Media,” volume XXXIX No. 18. In the article titled “POPaganda / Coming to a Billboard Near You,” (13) there is a photo image of a green billboard advertisement by Ron English. He writes on it, “JESUS DROVE AN SUV / MOHAMMAD PUMPED HIS GAS / THE NEW H2 HUMMER THIS AIN’T YOUR DADDY’S WAR WAGON.”

Now, I am not one to know the intentions of Ron English, but this is not a proper way to address two of the greatest men to ever walk Earth. I, being a Muslim (and I imagine many liberal Christains), find this to be quite offensive. There are numerous innovative, creative, and artistic ways to portray one’s stance towards neo-conservatism yet some artists insist upon using low, gross, and “easy” methods to propagate their feelings. How simple and easy is it to “make a stance” using sacriligious and offensive language? But how much more creative is it to bring life to an idea using innovation that none could have ever dreamed of?

I understand that the maker of the billboard is opposing the neo-conservative monster, but he can find loftier means of expressing such opposition. The “Support our CEO’s” and “MC Super Sized” statements are more direct in conveying his message, and, indeed, are wity.

You might say, “But this was just news being conveyed. What is wrong with that?” True, it was news being reported, and I find nothing wrong with news being reported, but the author of the article on the billboards referred to the piece discussed saying, “The combination of the sarcastic wit of such simple slogans such as ‘Jesus Drove … ” (13). It is almost a benediction of the statement, subjective – not purely “newsy.” As for the caption he placed under the billboard, he said, “The historical accuracy of this statement is open to debate” (13). Open to debate? Again, the statement is more a sanctioning of the billboard than a report.

As for me, I find the idea of billboard propaganda against the neo-con monster to be an excellent idea, my only complaint is that was stated before.

Thank you for your time.