Thursday, December 27, 2012

Chomsky on Media Manipulation

Top 10 Media Manipulation Strategies
By Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky, the distinguished American philosopher, political activist and professor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has compiled a list of the ten most powerful and efficacious strategies used by “masters of the world” to establish a manipulation of the population through the media.

The strategies are so well-elaborated that even the countries with the best educational systems, succumb to the power and terror of those mafias. Many things are reported in the news but few are explained.

1. The strategy of distraction

The primary element of social control is the strategy of distraction which is to divert public attention from important issues and changes determined by the political and economic elites, by the technique of flood or flooding continuous distractions and insignificant information.

Distraction strategy is also essential to prevent the public interest in the essential knowledge in the area of the science, economics, psychology, neurobiology and cybernetics.

“Maintaining public attention diverted away from the real social problems, captivated by matters of no real importance. Keep the public busy, busy, busy, no time to think, back to farm and other animals (quote from text Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars).

2. Create problems, then offer solutions

This method is also called “problem -reaction- solution.”

It creates a problem, a “situation” referred to cause some reaction in the audience, so this is the principal of the steps that you want to accept.

For example: let it unfold and intensify urban violence, or arrange for bloody attacks in order that the public is the applicant’s security laws and policies to the detriment of freedom.

Or create an economic crisis to accept as a necessary evil retreat of social rights and the dismantling of public services.

3. The gradual strategy

Acceptance to an unacceptable degree, just apply it gradually, dropper, for consecutive years.

That is how they radically new socioeconomic conditions (neoliberalism) were imposed during the 1980s and 1990s:

• the minimal state

• privatization
• precariousness
• flexibility
• massive unemployment
• wages
• do not guarantee a decent income, many changes that have brought about a revolution if they had been applied once.

4. The strategy of deferring

Another way to accept an unpopular decision is to present it as “painful and necessary”, gaining public acceptance, at the time for future application.

It is easier to accept that a future sacrifice of immediate slaughter.

• First, because the effort is not used immediately

• Then, because the public, masses, is always the tendency to expect naively that “everything will be better tomorrow” and that the sacrifice required may be avoided

This gives the public more time to get used to the idea of change and accept it with resignation when the time comes.

5. Go to the public as a little child

Most of the advertising to the general public uses speech, argument, people and particularly children’s intonation, often close to the weakness, as if the viewer were a little child or a mentally deficient.

The harder one tries to deceive the viewer look, the more it tends to adopt a tone infantilizing. Why?

“If one goes to a person as if she had the age of 12 years or less, then, because of suggestion, she tends with a certain probability that a response or reaction also devoid of a critical sense as a person 12 years or younger.” (see Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars)

6. Use the emotional side more than the reflection

Making use of the emotional aspect is a classic technique for causing a short circuit on rational analysis, and finally to the critical sense of the individual.

Furthermore, the use of emotional register to open the door to the unconscious for implantation or grafting ideas , desires, fears and anxieties , compulsions, or induce behaviors …

7. Keep the public in ignorance and mediocrity

Making the public incapable of understanding the technologies and methods used to control and enslavement.

“The quality of education given to the lower social classes must be the poor and mediocre as possible so that the gap of ignorance it plans among the lower classes and upper classes is and remains impossible to attain for the lower classes. (See Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars).

8. To encourage the public to be complacent with mediocrity

Promote the public to believe that the fact is fashionable to be stupid, vulgar and uneducated…

9. Self-blame Strengthen

To let individual blame for their misfortune, because of the failure of their intelligence, their abilities, or their efforts.

So, instead of rebelling against the economic system, the individual auto-devaluate and guilt himself, which creates a depression, one of whose effects is to inhibit its action.

And, without action, there is no revolution!

10. Getting to know the individuals better than they know themselves

Over the past 50 years, advances of accelerated science has generated a growing gap between public knowledge and those owned and operated by dominant elites.

Thanks to biology, neurobiology and applied psychology, the “system” has enjoyed a sophisticated understanding of human beings, both physically and psychologically.

The system has gotten better acquainted with the common man more than he knows himself.

This means that, in most cases, the system exerts greater control and great power over individuals, greater than that of individuals about themselves.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

L3 Students on Freedom Fighters

Class Presentations on Freedom Fighters
Tell your classmates about a courageous person in the history of your country that fought for civil rights. What did this person do? Don't mention his/her name until your classmates guess it at the end of your presentation, and then write his/her name on the board. OR Tell your partners about an important breakthrough in human rights in the history of your country. What was achieved and how? Speak for 2 minutes. You may look at your notes but try not to read them. (See text on Rosa Parks for vocabulary and expressions on page 41, and use passive tenses when necessary.)

Here are some of your classmates' presentations. If you can you guess who they talked about, post your comment below.

_________________________(1888-1972) She was born in 1888 and died in 1972. She was a Spanish politician who was the first person to fight for the right of women to vote in Spain, when only men were allowed to vote in parliamentary elections. She was a courageous woman, because she defended universal suffrage, in spite of being criticized by many people, including women like Victoria Kent, who was another member of the Spanish Parliament during the Second Republic. Finally, the Spanish Government granted women the right to vote in 1931 and since that moment all Spanish people have had equal rights regardless of their gender. Can you guess her name?

A courageous person in the history of my country is ____________________. Born in 1910, he was a young diplomat from Zaragoza who was assigned to Hungary during the Second World War. He was shocked by the horror of the Holocaust and he saved the life of more than 5,200 jews. Four hundred more than those saved by Oskar Schindler. However, the latter is more well-know than our Spanish hero. He forged jews’ passports and he had to bribe people and rent some flats with his own money to hide jews. He even built an annex at the Spanish embassy in Budapest, so they were untouchable for the Nazis. He didn’t have the approval of Franco’s regime to do this. He died in 1980.Also known as the Spanish Schindler, he is an example of true bravery in Spain. Can you guess who he was?

There have been a lot of freedom fighters in Spain, a few more famous and appreciated than others. But the fighters I’m going to write about are not famous, because there isn’t a visible face, I want to talk about the Spanish people today.

We are immersed in the worst economic, financial and social crisis in many years, and many social groups find themselves in a very difficult situation. That’s why there are more and more freedom fighters in this country, in order to stop abuses from the establishment, banks, speculators... all those that are supposed to resolve this situation, but not at all costs.

These freedom fighters do not agree with stifling taxes, privatizations, collective dismissals, evictions, cuts here and there... they are people who try to play their part with food and clothes donations, people who sit in front of a house to avoid an eviction, people who let homeless families live in their empty houses, or go to a demonstration to keep pushing for our rights and welfare... They –we- are the true freedom fighters today, and will never leave the struggle.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Classroom Language

Speak to your English teacher… in English!

What’s the meaning of _____?

Is this sentence right/correct?

Is it correct to say...?/Can I say...?

How do you say “_____” in English?

How do you spell the word _____?

Can you write it on the board, please?

What’s the difference between kill and assassinate?

I didn’t understand. Could you explain that again, please?

Shall I continue?

Sorry, I didn’t do my homework/the exercise.

Sorry, I didn’t come to class last Monday (because I was ill).

Have you got a spare photocopy (of the worksheet)?

Do you have any photocopies left?/... any spare photocopies?

Can you play the CD again, please?

Can we listen to it again, please?

Did you correct my last composition? Can I have it back?

What’s the homework for next week/Thursday?

Can I find this document online?

Is that document on WebCT?

Sorry I’m late.

When do classes finish (in December/in May)?

See you!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

L3 Reading Comprehension Exercises

Reading Comprehension Task
Read the text and decide which of the three options best fits each space. 0 has been completed in bold as an example.

TV pets training school

People say you can't train cats – they're wrong. I've been doing it (0) for years/during years/years ago and I get a huge amount of job satisfaction from it.
I've always had pets. My first job was releasing pigeons from a box for a TV drama (1) so/in order/so as the director could get a shot of them flying.
Six years ago I (2) put/set/began up my own business and started training animals myself.
 I've got 16 working cats. I keep my cats in a cattery; that way I know that if I need a cat to be on a shoot that day, I can find it. It's not practical to spend months (3) by training/train/training a cat and then let it roam the streets, especially not with animal (4) burglary/robbery/theft being such a huge issue these days.
I start training the cats from when they're (5) chicks/kittens/puppies. I use a clicker. I train them to do something and, when they get it right, I (6) click/do/make the noise with the clicker, so they associate that action with getting a reward, and give them a piece of fresh chicken.
Ideally, the cat should be really greedy – if they're not motivated by food there's a limit to how much you can train them.
My cats walk from one point to another and they've all been (7) taught/teach/teaching to lay down on command. You can't just get them out of their carrying box and start filming, you need to prepare them for the shoot and (8) recall/remember/remind them what they're doing.
I like working with all animals but I get the biggest sense of achievement from working with the cats because it's (9) so/such/such a long process to train them.
I'm not so (10) fond/interested/keen on working with hamsters – they're quite unpleasant little creatures. The classic is when you're doing an advert and the director wants a shot of the hamster spinning on its wheel. They'll do it at home in their cage but the minute you've got a camera running they won't do it. I'll buy them in for a job and then give them to a child when it's over. As with cats, it helps if you can work with a greedy hamster, (11) as/like/when you get better results.
This isn't a job, it's a way of life. After a 12-hour day I'll have to make sure the animals are all right and have to bed them down before I can (12) fed up/get on/put up with my own things.

Fill in the gaps with one word only.

Are you one of the thousands of people (1) _______________ eagerly follow every new fashion trend? Or perhaps you just go to the shops and buy something (2) _______________ your size that (3) __________________ you. Or maybe you order from the Internet and then have to send everything (4) _________________ because nothing fits. Whatever (5) ________________ of shopper you are, one thing is certain. Everyone finds clothes important. (6)____________________ to a recent survey, people (7)________________ more time either buying clothes, or thinking (8) ________________ buying them, or looking at them in (9) ________________ windows than they do on most other products, (10) ________________ from food.

  1. He always has breakfast before he _____.
            a) puts on                        b) wears                     c) gets dressed
2.            Don’t forget to ___ a tie for the interview.
            a) try on                            b) put on                   c) get dressed
  1. What’s she going to ___ to the party?
            a) wear                            b) try on                      c) get dressed
  1. You should always ____ shoes before you buy them.
            a) wear                           b) fit                               c) try on
  1. This dress doesn’t ___ me – it’s a size too small.
            a) fit                              b) measure                   c) suit
  1. Green clothes ___ people with red hair.
            a) match                        b) fit                                    c) suit
  1. That pink blouse doesn’t ___ your red skirt.
            a) fit                            b) measure                        c) match

Exercise with non-defining clauses 

Write the following sentences again, giving extra information in a relative clause. Sometimes the relative clause is in the middle of the sentence, sometimes at the end. Use the sentences in parentheses (……..) to make your relative clauses.
My father goes jogging every day. (My father’s 80.)
My father, who is 80, goes jogging every day.
She gave me a ring. (I put the ring in my handbag.)
She gave me a ring, which I put in my handbag.

1.    She showed me a photograph of her son. (Her son is a banker.)
2.    We decided not to swim in the ocean. (The ocean looked a bit dirty.)
3.    The new stadium will be opened next week. (The stadium holds 90,000 people.)
4.    Sarah is one of my closest friends. (I have known Sarah for eight years.)
5.    That man over there is an artist. (I don’t remember his name.) (use whose)
6.    Opposite our house there is a nice park. (There are some beautiful trees in this park.)  (Use where)
7.    The storm caused a lot of damage. (Nobody had been expecting the storm.)
8.    The cleaning lady was late this morning. (The cleaning lady is nearly always on time.)
9.    We often go to visit our friends in Bath. (Bath is only 30 miles away.)
10.Mr. Edwards has gone to the hospital for some tests. (His health hasn’t been good recently.) (use whose)
11.Jack looks much better without his beard. (His beard made him look much older.)
12.I went to see the doctor. (The doctor told me to rest for a few days.)
13.Thank you for your letter. (I was very happy to get your letter.)
14.A friend of mine helped me to get a job. (His mother is the manager of a company.) (use whose)
15.Next weekend I am going to Rome. (My sister lives in Rome.) (use where)
16.The population of London is now falling. (London was once the largest city in the world.)
17.I looked up at the moon. (The moon was very bright that evening.)
18.We spent a pleasant day at the lake. (We had a picnic by the lake.) (use where)

L3 Reading Comprehension: Multiple-choice gap fill.
Read the text and underline the answer (A, B, C or D) which best fits each gap.
Once upon a time, people (0) school or university, joined a company and stayed with it until they retired. The concept of a job for life is now long gone, and nowadays many employees find it hard to stay loyal to their companies for even a relatively short (1)…………. of time. According to a recent survey, this is particularly (2) ………… in London, where more than half of those asked said that they constantly keep one eye on other job opportunities, (3) ………… they are fairly happy in their existing jobs. A high number of London workers say that they are always on the lookout, although they are content and motivated in their current position.
Job seekers find that the internet (4) them with a quick and easy way to find out what jobs are available, and 53 per cent said that they had applied for a job or (5) ………..… with an employment agency in the past 12 months. This proactive approach means that people can look for a perfect job match with the (6) ………… of effort. But while this is good for job hunters, the growing lack of company loyalty could (7) ………… up being a big problem for employers.
0. A ended B completed C did D left
1. A stage B point C section D period
2. A right B true C actual D real
3. A just as B as well C so that D even if
4. A serves B delivers C provides D fulfils
5. A engaged B registered C appointed D recorded
6. A least B smallest C lowest D minimum
7. A come B end C lead D run