Apple’s Infamous 1984 Advertising Moment – Who Will “Save Us” Today?

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aaaI’ll admit I enjoy some pretty stupid commercials, especially the ones that air during the primetime Super Bowl slots. In the age of Netflix and Hulu, where commercials are becoming rarer or now even “skip-able,” I find my most recent viewing of the now infamous “1984 Apple Macintosh Commercial” more satisfying than ever. Weirdly enough, I just recently managed to read George Orwell’s dystopian literary masterpiece “1984” and like most, it really struck a chord in me. I was traveling to Switzerland on a train so the format was perfect, but I kept thinking how badly I would have loved a new cinematic take on it. To my surprise, life had me stumble upon this epic 1-minute piece of entertainment. Now I understand it’s just a commercial, but myself and scores of other talking-heads agree it is one spectacular piece of advertising.

aaaBe it the 2004 20th anniversary edition (where Apple added the iconic white iPod headphones to the heroine) or the grainy 1984 version… I love it. Now taken at face value, its main objective was just a marketing ploy to take on Apple’s main competitor at the time, IBM; but either way it was executed with the kind of great style and grace only real innovators achieve once in a blue moon. The commercial’s presentation is epic in only a way Sci-Fi legend Ridley Scott could have delivered, and the reasoning seemed to resonate with the Super Bowl audience… or at least intrigued them enough to search out more info on the Apple Macintosh personal computer. As the 1 minute commercial spot comes to an end, Apple boldly proclaims…

“On January 24th,

Apple Computer will introduce

Macintosh.

And you’ll see why 1984

won’t be like ‘1984.’”

      Culminating with a stark black background with a centered now iconic rainbow Apple logo, the commercial provides visual entertainment and poses interesting questions for us all right now. Did Apple save us from a dystopian information-controlled era? Are we still navigating the waters of those perilous times? Considering pieces of legislation Congress has drafted threatening the very concept of Net Neutrality, it doesn’t seem too paranoid to ask. It’s not really a matter of who owns what type of computer but how and what you can do with them. We already know there is private, professional software that allows unknown entities to track, monitor, and even turn on webcams without the owner knowing. With this in mind, where are we headed? Which company will be there to “save us” when its time?

__Ultimately, who will be the one to throw the hammer through the next screen? It’s hard to say… what do you think? I am not of the belief corporations are necessarily always “bad” and I do see hope with certain billionaire businessmen like Elon Musk and what he is doing with Space X. Regardless, Apple presented a pretty awesome piece of advertising and has proven over and over its profound ability to cement itself in our culture.

Thanks for stopping by Philosophical Swag! Stay tuned for more content all the time!

Be a Real Sophist!

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As a student and at times human being, I admit I adore rhetoric.

Words like Discourse and Rhetor fly around my classrooms…

Discourse – essentially any meaningful use of symbols or signs        (ex. words, images…)

Rhetor – a producer of discourse

In my first week of class, we were essentially pondering Aristotle’s justification of slavery. Common calls of “he was a man of his times” or “abolition wasn’t really mainstream topic in that society” echoed around the room. While the discussion trucked on I began to ask myself a more general question… Why isn’t rhetoric studied in more of a mainstream fashion? More importantly, why does the term “rhetoric” even have a bad name? I think we have a lot to learn from master rhetors like Aristotle. While he and many other individuals and their works sometimes have spots of fallacy or horror it doesn’t mean you should throw their entire body of work out.

Another thing we addressed was ‘Sophistic’ rhetoric, which also so happens to have somewhat of a bad name. Sophists are typically characterized as deceptive but in modern academia there is a growing re-evaluation of this stereotype. A Sophistic rhetor is someone who employs the mental fortitude and dedication to actually understand and articulate all the possible sides and dimensions of an argument.

Imagine a good lawyer or debater in general… someone who if you flipped a coin would know how to handle a discussion in a variety of ways and argue for either side. By being a real Sophist and knowing both if not many sides to an argument, you actually become more acquainted with the issues at hand. With the political debate heating up everywhere… and a range of hot button issues coming to us this November, I beg everyone, my generation especially to at least try to be a little more “Sophistic” in their everyday lives.

Thanks for checking out Philosophical Swag!

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Time to get back to it! – P.S. is back for another year!

I love the internets. I love writing. So before anything… I want to apologize for the lack of content over the last 8 months. Apparently I felt I was too busy gallivanting across Europe and the Middle East to share anything with you all. Many posts in the upcoming months may have a different flavor due to a certain new development (a professor asking me to pen more specified opinions down on assigned topics.) But I promise Philosophical Swag will still shine with the same familiar message and flare we have become known for.

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“Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings”

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“Progressive art can assist people to learn not only about the objective forces at work in the society in which they live, but also about the intensely social character of their interior lives. Ultimately, it can propel people toward social emancipation. – Salvador Dali

While traveling through Bruges, Belgium I managed to catch an exhibit of Salvador Dali… his work is beyond cool.

“Let my enemies devour each other.”

“Each morning when I awake, I experience again a supreme pleasure – that of being Salvador Dali.”

“I seated ugliness on my knee, and almost immediately grew tired of it.”

“Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision.”

“There are some days when I think I’m going to die from an overdose of satisfaction.”

“Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.”

Thanks for visiting Philosophical Swag!

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Reflection with an Invite – Philosophical Swag’s Challenge this Holiday Season

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very day I take on the journey of learning new things in an attempt to find my place in this world. I often wonder if I am learning enough or getting as much as I would like out of my higher education. I wonder to myself if I am doing everything I can do to be a better person, a better student, a better friend? While I dream of one day changing this place for the better, sometimes I lose focus on the present. I find myself always looking ahead for new things… new opportunities… new ways to make myself more approachable in the future.

I wonder if our generation is doomed to repeat the same backwards arguments that our parents and their parents’ parents fought over. It certainly feels like we live in a time of splintered opinion, plagued by indifference and intolerance. While I shake my head at some, I urge you to remember how valuable you and your education actually are.

I want to create a place for visitors to partake in a digital salon.

Philosophical Swag will be a place where I try partly to amuse you and partly to  host an environment to stimulate discussion and increase the knowledge of visitors. I aim to present people and ideas to create discussion and intrigue. I want to help create a new civic society. Developed nations and our country in particular, drastically need a larger segment of the population to become more aware, more concerned, and more intrigued about the cosmos we float through.

   It seems we are all too busy just trying to survive. While we fight over ridiculous, often petty things; it becomes easy to be distracted. I want to pose a question and raise a challenge to you.                  

What will you do over Holiday Break?

Personally, I plan to catch up with old friends, work, spend time with family, and read. That’s right, R E A D. Don’t get me wrong, I love TV. I love video games, movies, and even sleeping… but this break offers everyone a chance to pick up and finish a book out of leisure. ANY BOOK you like! Yes, this holiday season is supposed to be a vacation, a break away from schoolwork; but that doesn’t mean you can’t let your mind go on a vacation through a great book.

You won’t be alone. For the first time in over a quarter-century, Americans are reading more. Across the board, new data shows all ages, all ethnic groups, are reading more. According to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), reading is on the rise due to the work of programs that have sprouted up all over the country to encourage citizens to read. Young adults (18 to 24) have specifically undergone a serious transformation from a 20% decrease in reading in 2002 to a 21% increase in 2008. I bring this development up because not only is it great news but its inspiring and shows if we all do our part we can create a better tomorrow. I truly believe that reading is central to a prosperous, free society and hope that you can join me and embrace our role at this crucial time!

Our culture is at war with itself. We have the largest amount of information available to us since the beginning of civilization, yet if you look at the top internet searches for 2010, the list included 6 celebrities, a natural disaster, a sporting event, and a phone. I’m not saying the top searches should have been “Multi-verse theory”, “Kurt Vonnegut”, and “Green Energy”, (although that would have been nice) I’m simply saying we need a stronger civil society that’s less interested in sideshow cultural meth like Jersey Shore. The NEA’s chair Dana Gioia said it best in 2009, “Cultural decline is not inevitable.” Remember you play a larger role than you think in this country’s future.

As the year draws down and we get a break from our challenging daily routines, I invite you… I encourage you; don’t just catch up with your friends and family over the holidays, have a lively discussion. Ask them about what they are reading? Talk to them about something you learned recently. These are the small steps we all must take in order to build a stronger civil society. Be merry and party this holiday season! I simply challenge you to push forward and help make the future a more intellectual and interesting place. PS

Jackie Onasis Kennedy with the children

If you feel like creating a little extra holiday karma…

Spend a minute to track down one of your favorite teachers from the past’s contact information and send them a “Thank You Letter”. It could be simple like “I sat in your classroom when I was 12 years old and you showed my future love and future career, SCIENCE! Thanks for showing me the way!” Or maybe something a little less hokey like, “Thanks for igniting my passion about Politics! Hope you have a great holiday season!” Either way I’m sure they would love it and deeply appreciate it.

Don’t forget to pick up a book this holiday season!

Thanks for checking out Philosophical Swag!

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Happy 176th Birthday Mr. Mark Twain!

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For a great database of Mark Twain quotes head over to, twainquotes.com.

Just wanted to wish Mr. Twain a happy 176th birthday and spread some Philosophical Swag further out into the internets.

If you missed my earlier post on the birthday man, click here!

Thanks for stopping by Philosophical Swag!

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“What good is the warmth of summer, without…”

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Or as Shakespeare originally said it "Now is the winter of our discontent / Made glorious summer by this sun [or son] of York"

John Steinbeck was an American Pulitzer Prize winning writer who will be remembered for his truly unforgettable contributions to the literary world, including but not limited to… The Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, and Of Mice and Men.

This man was a living, breathing classic quote making machine. In other words… if you follow PhiloSwag you’ll see more from this man in the coming months.

The city I currently call home just received its first “real snow,” hence why I choose today’s Quote with Philosophical Swag.

“Literature is as old as speech. It grew out of human need for it, and it has not changed except to become more needed.”

– Snagged from his Nobel Prize acceptance speech in 1962

Something neat from the amazing Wikipedia... "John Steinbeck and son John visit LBJ at the oval office in the White House. To the left is 19 year-old John Steinbeck, IV with his father, John Steinbeck, III. The senior Steinbeck, a friend and sometime speech-writer for LBJ (they had first met in 1963), has written the president to ask on his son's behalf that he would be posted in Vietnam. The 4-minute meeting takes place on Monday, May 16, 1966, shortly after the younger John has finished boot camp, and a few weeks before his departure for Vietnam. The visit is to say thank you in person, and to give the younger John the chance to shake the president's hand."

For those wondering, William Shakespeare’s Richard III also said,

“Now is the winter of our discontent /

Made glorious summer by this sun [or son] of York,” .

Thanks for stopping by Philosophical Swag!