Feb 7, 2011

Collateral Damage


Christ Jesus Lord God Jehova,
Beat it on away from here now.
Make way for a new guy with no religion at all—
A real guy named
Marx Communist Lenin Peasant Stalin Worker ME—
I said, ME!

Don’t be so slow about movin?
The world is mine from now on—
And nobody’s gonna sell ME
To a king, or a general,
Or a millionaire.” (Hughes)

Langston Hughes, an American Black Poet of the 20th century, disrupted all social measures and convictions during the rise of Communism in the West. During that time, the Communist Party of the USA adopted the slogan “the united front from below”. The party devoted to championing the rights of African-Americans and fighting alongside the farmers and the working poor.

Hughes’ literary work was mostly associated with the Communist Party. The poem above clearly shows his deep affiliation to the Communist thought or ideals. Hughes despised the structured and organized power. In other words, he was against what the Manifesto of the Communist Party calls a bourgeoisie. “By bourgeoisie is meant the class of modern capitalists, owners of the means of special production and employers of wage labor. By proletariat, the class of modern wage laborers who, having no means of production of their own, are reduced to selling their labor power in order to live” (McLellan 16). This idea of freedom from slavery or from the established deprivation of the right to taste of one’s fruit, this longing to stop the exploitation of the black was an attraction to Hughes towards communist because “Communism deprives no man of the power to appropriate the products of society; all that it does is deprive him of the power to subjugate the labor of others by means of such appropriation” (McLellan 32).

The communists believed in the working class, in its emancipation. However, Communism in Europe took another stance during the Great Purge of Stalin. Hughes as many other writers of his time were drawn to the promises of freedom from the segregated USA. The leaders of the American Communist Party, along with many writers and intellectuals at the time, did not question the acts of purging by Stalin (Communist Party of the United States). After the rise of Communism in Europe, various philosophers, writers, and journalists justify the works of the authoritarian and totalitarian States behind the Iron Curtain. During the period extending from 1940-1950, Senator McCarthy and Edgar Hoover established a blacklist in which they incriminated prominent American figures of working with the enemy of the capitalist system, the Communist party (McCarthyism).

Here an ethical dilemma is raised. On the one hand, Communist leaders promised freedom and rights. On the other, some of its leaders showed totalitarianism. The conflict resides between the freedoms of slaves in the US by influence of Communism and the justice concept in leaders to be applied at all times. Was Langston Hughes right to encourage Communism after the Great purge? Was it just of him to disregard these acts for the sake of freedom?

During this semester, while studying about ethics and leadership, many paradigms were discussed in class. These were the essence of any conflict of ethical nature. There are as many paradigms as one can name when it comes to freedom, justice, mercy, truth, honesty and the list goes on and on. In this paper, the clearer relation would be between freedom of expression and freedom to acquire the rights that are one’s natural right. From a Black Struggle point of view, communism was their one ticket against the democratic capitalist system that kept them tangled to slavery for a long time. However, based on their ‘visionary’ plan to change the American Capitalist society, the communist Americans disregarder and shone off the many massacres in Europe, in the name of shutting capitalism down, by the communist Stalin Regime.

It must never be forgotten that freedom, liberty, and justice are class terms, and have never been anything else since the rise of private property and the beginning of political society, with its class struggles. Justice, democracy, and liberty are weapons used in the class conflict in propertied society by the ruling elements against the exploited slaves, serfs, and workers” (Marxists Internet Archive (2006)).

From an anthological point of view, freedom is man’s unavoidable condition. It is an end, a barrier to be overcome. Jean Paul Sartre asks a question about Marxism and freedom and the bourgeoisie. He says: “Was Marx not right to dismiss ‘freedom’ as empty bourgeois rhetoric unless defined in terms of ‘freedom and necessity’ the central dialectic of history?” (Caute). From this, we can understand two terms: that of freedom and that of necessity.

The black freedom necessitated a big, unprecedented movement to fight the oppression of that capitalistic system. In other words, it called for a universal action, one which the capitalists would be surprised with its strength and ability to change. So it wasn’t really a surprise to see black writers and different other authors endorse communism despite the fact of its cruel attacks on European grounds. While comparing and contrasting freedom versus Justice, we might want to discern between two concepts of freedom: a negative and a positive freedom. “The concepts of freedom are notoriously various and tricky. The distinction between negative and positive freedom has been drawn in many different ways… Real, substantive, or positive freedom is to be contrasted with formal or negative freedom… Generally, if I am positively free to X I am also negatively free to X, but not always. If someone tries to coerce me or places obstacles in my path, but the obstacles are not completely effective, so that I can still get X if I try to get X, then I am positively free with respect to X but not completely negatively free.” (Arneson).

From this perspective, justice then would be sided with the effect of either type of freedom. If positive freedom prevails then justice is to go for it. Whereas if negative freedom is more affecting, justice will have to raise the bar in order for it to regain ground and be complacent with freedom. By projecting these concepts, one is reminded of the perception of crimes against humanity. By definition in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Explanatory Memorandum, these crimes are defined as "particularly odious offences in that they constitute a serious attack on human dignity or grave humiliation or a degradation of one or more human beings” (Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court). Haven’t the blacks endured grave humiliations and a degradation of their human bodies and souls? However, would that be avenged by siding with more crimes or even by disregarding the killings of many in the name of their emancipation and acquiring of their rights?

The title of this paper was Collateral Damage. But who has suffered it? Could it be the Stalin regime in the face of the justice hypothesis? Was it Langston Hughes who wouldn’t incriminate Stalin? Was collateral damage the very essence of Communism in the West? To answer all these rhetoric questions, one might have to go back in time, study the history of the era. Maybe, one can take a psychological approach and justify each and every act. It could be the fear of imperialism that made Stalin re-act with his Great Purge. His justice was the right freedom for the ideology to escalate and prosper In the face of capitalism and the harsh system of bourgeoisie.

In the aftermath of the Communist era, I personally refer its fall to the fact that it preferred total anarchist freedom over a positive freedom that can grant liberty with justice, at the same time. Having to liberate the economical system from the claws of a democratic monopolistically republican regime would have contributed to a less violent world and more tolerant cultures. Yet, being glued to the greed of power, nor freedom neither justice can be realistically able to promote a global tolerance of the many differences in the world. Capitalists want to dominate world economy for greater profit. Communist approaches, sided with socialism, want to break down the chains of the aforementioned regime. Two extremes have torn the blue planet into a chaotic entity. Would consociationalism be an answer to the irrevocable anarchy of regimes today? The Netherland was the first to apply it in 1917 and it helped the state to manage its internal conflicts. I leave my reader to think about this last question, in the hope of waking up one day to a sunny bright sun and a velvety blue sky, where the leaders are merciful, just, honest, true, and loyal and believers in freedom.

Works Cited

Arneson, Richard. "REAL FREEDOM AND DISTRIBUTIVE JUSTICE." October 1996. Philosophy Faculty. January 2011 .

Caute, David. "Introduction." Sartre, Jean Paul. The Age of Reason. London: Penguin Classics, 2001. vi-ix.

"Communist Party of the United States." Spartaus Educational. 14 January 2011 .

Hughes, Langston. Goodbye Christ. New York: First Vintage Classics Edition, 1995.

"Marxists Internet Archive (2006)." The Communist Review (September 1922): Vol. 3, No. 5.

McCarthyism. 2011 .

McLellan. "The Manifesto of the Communist Party." The Essential Left. London: Counterpoint, 1986. 16.

"Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court." 1998-2002. Wikipedia. 2011 .

Word Formation in Advertising and Marketing

Morphemes are language segments that meet three criteria: (1) it is a meaningful word or part of a word. (2) It cannot be divided into smaller parts without jeopardizing the original meaning. (3) It recurs in different verbal environments with a relatively stable meaning (Stageberg, 2000). For example, in the word lighten, we have two morphemes: light + (-en). The first morpheme is a free one, since it can stand alone with meaning whereas the second part (-en) is a bound morpheme since they don’t have a meaning when in isolation but need a second bound or free morpheme to complete their meaning.

With that said, I shall introduce the importance of morphemes in the world of marketing and advertisement. As a conceptual copyrighter in the field of product branding and development, morphemes have an important value in selling and launching new products on the market. A few years ago, 7UP had a highly successful advertising campaign that referred to its product as the “un-cola” (7-Up The Uncola, 1968). With such an intended grammatical “misuse” of the morpheme “-un” which conveys negativity, PepsiCo attracted the attention to its product. This ad was rated as very intelligently designed to conquer the competition between Pepsi and its products and Coca-Cola.

The above-mentioned case displays a direct use of morphological knowledge into creative use, back in the 1960s. However, with the 21st century, morphemic analysis and product branding have established quite a close relationship, especially when it comes to naming a brand, company or designing an ad campaign.

For 12 days, I gathered names of reputable commercial institutions such as stores or companies or even brands. In the following pages, I intend to study each of these words morphologically. There will be a description of the method used to design the names and how this method affected or still affects their image in the market.

Where some morphemes are direct, noticeable and apparent, the larger part is hidden to the untrained eye yet somehow perceptible to the common collective understanding of the people. Such concealed morphemes are classified under the vault of phonesthemes. These clusters of consonants convey and emphasize their meaning when combined together. Coined in 1930, the word phonestheme was used to label the systematic pairing of form and meaning in a language.

“Phonesthemes are frequently recurring sound-meaning pairing that are not clearly contrastive morphemes. An example is the English onset gl-, which, like other phonesthemes, is relatively infrequent in English, except among words with meanings related to ‘vision’ and ‘light’. Some of these are exemplified in 1a. Another well-documented phonestheme is the English onset sn-, which occurs in a large number of words related to ‘mouth’ and ‘nose’ (1b).

1. a. gl­- ‘light, vision’ glimmer, glisten, glitter, gleam, glow, , etc.

b. sn- ‘nose, mouth’ snore, snack, , snarl, snort, sniff, sneeze, etc.” (Bergen, 2004)

Making use of phonesthemes in brand image and conceptual product identity became a successful combination of creativity and usage. Let us take the example of the newest soft drink on the market today. It’s called “GLINTER”.

It is interesting to know that the cluster gl­- in Glinter conveys the meaning of light and vision, but also glitter and glow. Their slogan is “To let you hugging fashion and expressing energy!” so in then end, fashion of the 21st century is all about glow and glitter. Also, the transparent packaging of the drink reflects the vision, the transparent vision of what the drink is all about, unlike other soft drinks that are packaged in tin or aluminum cans. This product not only reflects a certain lifestyle but reflects its name in its packaging (Marketing, 2004).

“In 1932, the cosmetic house Max Factor invented the first commercially available lip gloss, known as X-Rated. With subtle sheen and shine, the X-Rated lip gloss provided women allover the country with a clear and lightweight alternative to lipstick with a sexy and wet glow.” (Michalak, 2006)

The above quotation is another example of the use of phonestheme gl- in marketing. The name gloss and its attributions convey the meaning of gl- related to shine and shimmer. The combination of the cluster gl-, with its meaning to the production of the actual lip color, was a success to the Max Factor Company that today small business makeup companies just use the word gloss to mean the tube that contains that shiny, shimmery material that was a lighter and sexier alternative to the traditional lipstick.

In another example, the cluster sp- conveys energy, life and movement (Shisler, 1997 ). In 1961, the Coca-Cola Company released into the markets the Sprite soft drink. The drink had a strong appeal to young people which are characterized of being energetic and full of life. Moreover, the drink’s slogan was to encourage people to quench their thirst with Sprite that is a fast and reliable satisfaction, parallel to a fast and energetic movement (Coca-Cola Brands, 2006).

Moreover, creativity is not only bound to phonesthemes or the cluster of consonants. Most of the time, word formation was the basis for brand and product naming. Many do not realize that most of the manufactured goods they see around are named via the word formation processes.

Hence, while doing my research of names, I was amazed at the many products, brands and companies names that were formed simply by playing with words. Clipping, coining, blending or simply reduplicating and acronymic formation are the most common and most used word formation.

In the following section, a list of major names in the world of business will be discussed and dissected to find out the origin of their formation.

1. Malapco: the name of a major petroleum company in Lebanon. The name is a mixture of clipping and acronym. Clipping is the cutting of sounds in a word or syllable. Acronym formation is the use of the first sound (usually first letter) in a word and using it with other letters –that have also been “acronymized” – to form a new word. Malapco stands for Malah Petroleum Company. They clipped the end of Malah into –Mala- and took the first letter of Petroleum –P- and Company –C-. the coining or blending of both processes gave the brand name Malapco to refer to a petroleum distribution company.

Another example is the famous Wikipedia website. It is a digital online encyclopedia. The name is coined by removing the first three syllables of encyclopedia (en/cy/clo) and adding the name wiki. In Hawaiian language, wiki means fast bus. Hence, the name Wikipedia refers to a fast search in the encyclopedia (Whales, 1994).

2. Top Toy: the name of a toy company in Lebanon. The name is formed by reduplicating or repetition of the same sounds and order from the first syllable and changing one sound of the same order. Hence, in Top Toy, the sounds /t/ and /o/ are sustained and the change is done to the last sound: /p/ is changed into /y/. In this instance, this type of reduplication affects only one sound and is called partial reduplication. Other reduplication formations are known as complete/full reduplication. The word is repeated fully and with no changes in the sounds or sound order as in bye-bye, choo-choo. Such reduplications are mostly found in children literature for naming characters or places. Another partial reduplication relies on changing the initial consonant sound in the repeated couple. Such examples are combined to form names of games for children, such as roly-poly: a small bug that can turn itself into a ball.

3. Nicorette: the name of a pharmaceutical preparation. It’s a gum used to help smokers quit smoking. It is the blending of two words into one. Nicorette is made of Nicotine and Cigarette. Clipped then combined together, both parts gave rise to a new product-brand, used widely to mean the process by which one may get help to quit smoking (GlaxoSmithKline, 2007).

4. Amazon, Apple and Twitter: these are examples of websites and electronic devices that have acquired a large reputation in the 21st century, after the great technological and digital revolution. The process by which these common names became proper nouns is called antonomasia. In their dictionary entries, Amazon comes from the Greek Mythology to refer to a member of a nation of women warriors reputed to have lived in Scythia. Often Amazon is a tall, aggressive, strong-willed woman. However, the name is now known to be a website directory for online shopping. However, the attributes of the original definition is used to designate the latter use. The same applies for the website Twitter. It is chatting room where people are connected continuously. By definition to twitter is to make high-pitched sounds, as of birds (Word Net Web). However, nowadays, when people talk of twitter, they mean the social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets.

Apple, on the other hand, is the name of a fruit. However, in the late 20th century and after the rise of computers and its science, the Apple Company chose its name after the apple experience of Sir Isaac Newton. Its initial company logo was with Isaac Newton under an apple tree. Later, the logo changed into a half bitten apple, to convey the acquiring of new and indispensable technology which is characteristic of the fruit “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. (Apple)

Many are the instances in which one might find examples of different word formation which have helped the rise of many products. In the world of advertisement and marketing, creativity is a required skill. Knowing that the English language, and many other languages, is a static one, that is, it is a language in which few changes might arise, and knowing that new dictionary entries are hard to provide, word formation processes have become the answer to creative naming of brands and companies.

Works Cited

7-Up The Uncola. (1968). Retrieved 2010, from RetroJunk: http://www.retrojunk.com/details_commercial/1480/

Apple. (n.d.). Retrieved 2010, from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Inc.#Culture

Bergen, B. K. (2004, June). The Psychological Reality of Phonaesthemes. Language , p. 290.

Coca-Cola Brands. (2006). Retrieved 2010, from Virtual Vender: http://www.virtualvender.coca-cola.com/ft/index.jsp

GlaxoSmithKline. (2007). Nicorette Stop Smoking. Retrieved 2010, from Nicorette.

Google dictionary. (n.d.). Retrieved 2010, from Google: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rlz=1C1SKPC_enLB366LB390&defl=en&q=define:twitter&sa=X&ei=rWkgTcPsMMqXhQfLs93zDQ&ved=0CBYQkAE

Marketing, K. (2004). Glinter. Retrieved 2010, from Keko Group.

Michalak, J. (2006). Who Invented Lip Gloss. Retrieved 2010, from Love to Know: http://makeup.lovetoknow.com/Who_Invented_Lip_Gloss

Shisler, B. (1997 ). Dictionary of English Phonesthemes Part 2. Retrieved from Reocities: http://reocities.com/SoHo/Studios/9783/phond2.html#initial

Stageberg, N. C. (2000). Morphemes. In An Introductory English Grammar (p. 117). Orlando: Earl McPeek.

Whales, J. (1994). Wiki. Retrieved 2010, from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki

Word Net Web. (n.d.). Retrieved 2010, from Word Net Web: http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=twitter