Tag Archives: week3

Annoyance One: Dictionary Definitions

A short series, I will try to post a new one each week. They will simply be things I find annoying, and an effort to get your responses on the topic.

There is nothing more annoying to me when listening to someone make a speech than when they say, “The Oxford/Macquarie/Webster (insert preferred Dictionary brand) Dictionary defines this as…”

Ok, I understand what you are trying to do there: provide a clear picture of what is it you are talking about and yes in some situations this can be necessary- when debating the meaning of a word like ‘love’ perhaps – but when you are simply talking about a literary device like metaphor? Kind of unnecessary.

Unless you think your audience fell out of the ass end of god knows where, or they are 4 years old, I would hope you would give them the common decency of not demoralising them with an explanation of a simple concept taught in primary school.

Now you may question me with some post-modernist crap of “But what is a chair really?” and to you I say, unless your speech is from a post modern framework, get lost.

I don’t mind if you clarify concepts like:

1. This is a metaphor
2. The metaphor is that the pig is represented as if it is a human

Or even:

1. I like cheese
2. When I refer to cheese I mean the cow’s milk by-product

It is more the phrase “The (XYZ) Dictionary defines (XYZ) as…” that after enough repetition, saturation and misuse makes me want to rip off your head and watch it spurt blood.

So please…don’t dictionary define.

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Presentation from Week 3

It is what it is…unchanged after what Gillian mentioned in the lecture, it could be completely shite as a result but that’s how I roll.

Advertisement for Puma

Advertisement for Puma

LARGER VERSION HERE

My chosen advertisement’s basis inspiration comes from the polysemy of the word ‘Light’- being that of both weight and our optical experience.

In Durand’s table of rhetoric this ad is classified in the column of Substitution. Substitution is a combination of Durand’s first and second rhetorical operations Addition and Suppression. This image uses identical suppression, which is more easily seen when compared to this image, not published for the ad.

Here the model stands in a mostly bare room, wearing only her Puma sneakers and nude underwear. We are presented with a blank canvas wherein her location and wardrobe are projected upon her. So what we see is suppression of clothing and the addition of false projected clothing.

There are a few of Durand’s rhetorical figures which I believe apply to this image in correlation. These are metaphor, hyperbole and allusion which are depicted through a combination of image and text.

The metaphor in operation is highlighted through the text- “Light injected footwear” – this is the key to the polysemy. The advertisers have detailed in the bottom left corner the light weight of the shoe- what the ad is literally trying to convey, whilst when combined with the word “infused” connotes the metaphor of light rays being held within the shoe itself.

The hyperbole and allusion are wrapped up with each other, hyperbole is the identity, allusion is the similarity of form.

The hyperbole is seen in the exaggeration of the way weight is depicted – the model herself. The model wears no real clothing; she merely has the appearance of clothes- this leads to the allusion that the shoes are so light that it feels like you are wearing nothing. The physically worn shoes and the projected image play off each other to convey this message along with the scarcity of the physical room she is in, further alluding to the possibility that these shoes can take to anywhere, they transcend physical space.

These rhetorical figures of the model, the projection and the written word combine to give an overall lust for the shoe. The shoe is light in weight, it is limitless and it is cool because of the creative depiction of scenery through projection.

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