Cultural Jamming Assignment (North Korean Propoganda)

Original Ad:

we have lots of food

Analysis of the original Ad: 

This is one of the typical North Korean propaganda posters. It is  the typical style of communism value adding propaganda tradition. The ad, originally named and translated as ‘we have lots food’, is taken from an online public photo gallery called “oobject”. As we can see, the colors selected in the ad are bright and versatile, connotating an all positive attitude. The featuring characters look slightly up with smiles. They are looking up in the direction of the ultimate communism happiness, and they are smiling with all different kinds of foods, fruits, and vegetables filling more than half of the picture; on the right-hand corner, numerous goats form a long line leading off the picture: the meat is abundant as well. The North Korean national flag is on the top-left corner covering the two characters. The indication becomes quite clear here: people are happy, confident of their communism ideology, and more than enough food and supplies, AND all these are brought by the North Korean government which will always protect its people like a giant umbrella. It seems that having enough to eat is the ultimate happiness for all the North Korean people, and they should always be content and satisfied. Another interesting connotation regarding the flag is that since the government is covering you and protecting you, it is watching you and monitoring all your actions at the same time. It may convey the message that people need to obedient if they want to avoid troubles or even tragedies.

WC: 257

Jammed Ad

lots of foods = lots of grass

Analysis of the jammed ad:

The picture on the right is a real-time photo taken in North Korean by French Photographer Eric Lafforgue during his visit to North Korean in early 2014. It depicts a North Korean old man picking grass from the public lawn to use it as food. Combined with the propaganda image on the left, this picture has really helped generated significant sarcastic and mocking to the title “we have lots of food”.  The  image to the left is a colorful painting while the image to the right is a photograph.  Strong contrasts between ‘ideal’ and ‘reality’, ‘lies’ and ‘truths’ are established in this jammed ad. 

Looking at this jammed ad, people would give their sarcastic laugh when they see such sharp contrast, and some may even accuse it as typical totalitarian communism. However, the point I trying to make is that this jammed picture simply presents two different political ideologies. The grass picking old man is captured through the lens of western democracy which emphasizes on individuality; the North Korean propaganda picture, in spite of  its typical communist image building and value justifying, may not be simply accused of being manipulative. In other words, it is truly unknown what exactly North Korean people think and perceive regarding their status-quo.

From this particular angle,  I think what people should really take away from this jammed picture is that what is presented on the surface does not necessarily reflect the ultimate truth. People should think critically to avoid being manipulated or making irrational and arbitrary life decisions.

WC: 254