Friday, December 2, 2011

Detailed final project proposal-- Anthony Garuccio


· Lynd Ward includes the obvious references to American advertising in Vertigo as an argument—or social critique—against the commercialization though pervasive advertising in America. Lynd Ward, being raised by a radical Christian father, had strong moral convictions against the over-consumption and indulgence that were encouraged by the advertisers of the 1920 and onward. Ward uses many techniques that are common to the advertising industry to execute this important sub-argument in Vertigo.

Additional Reference Material:

[1] How Modern Is Modern Marketing? Marketing's Evolution and the Myth of the "Production Era"

Ronald A. Fullerton

The Journal of Marketing

Vol. 52, No. 1 (Jan., 1988), pp. 108-125

(article consists of 18 pages)

Published by: American Marketing Association

Stable URL:

[2] Silent Beauty -- In These Times


[3] The Library of America interviews Art Spiegelman about Lynd Ward

[4] A General Theory of Marketing Ethics

Shelby D. Hunt and Scott Vitell Journal of Macromarketing 1986 6: 5 DOI: 10.1177/027614678600600103

The online version of this article can be found at:

Outline of Argument:

1. Thesis is stated above

2. Develop Lynd Ward as philosophically opposed to the overindulgence typified by advertising

a. His father was a radical Christian

i. References [2] and [3] above

ii. This leads him to be moralistically against advertising

b. He was very left-winged

i. This means he was against firms

ii. Further he was pro-people

iii. Together these two things lead him to be politically against advertising

3. Show that advertising in the 1920’s and 1930’s was aggressive, pervasive, and organized by the owners of production

a. Advertising had to be aggressive due to high competition in the 1920’s and low demand in the 1930’s due to the great depression

i. Reference [1] : “…Age of High Capitalism-a period characterized by unrestrained ambition and aggressiveness in business conduct.”

b. Advertising was pervasive

i. Reference [1] : “Demand for innovations like the automobile, the cigarette, and the typewriter was consciously stimulated by a full range of marketing efforts including price and distribution as well as advertising and personal selling appeals.”

c. Discuss the morality of adverting

i. Reference [4]

4. Prove that Ward is making an argument within Vertigo against advertising

a. Review the woodcuts in vertigo with all the signs in them.

b. Discuss different visual techniques that Ward uses.

i. Crowding many signs into a single frame to show the overwhelming-ness of advertising

ii. Different text fonts he uses when referring to things that he is for and against

1. The life insurance sign uses the same font as the “thugs” office, which is radically different than the signs made by the unions, which ward obviously supports.

5. Conclusion

a. Bring together the historical facts about advertising in the time period of vertigo with the political and moral leanings of its author to reaffirm the plausibility of the existence of the argument Ward is making that is mentioned in my thesis

b. Recall the evidence presented from the actual text of Vertigo to give substance and definitive proof of my thesis


  1. i dont know why the outline is not properly lined up with the proper indentation. Here is a link to the original word file in my dropbox:

  2. I think your thesis is really interesting and strong. It's obviously pretty hard to review an outline but from what you have here, it looks really good. I'm not sure what the other sources you are using to prove that he was against the overindulgence but I would just be careful that you aren't jumping too much from his father being a conservative Christian to him being anti indulgence. Again, I have no idea what other sources you are using so you might not even run into this issue but I would just be aware of it as you're writing. Other than that I think your paper sounds really well planned and thought provoking.

  3. I love the premise. I do agree with Alison that you need to flesh out a little more the significance of his father's radical understanding of Christianity - that shouldn't be terribly hard to flesh out, but she has a point that you don't want to lean on assumptions.

    I do have a substantive criticism, though. While I think I'm in agreement that you have a thesis - Ward is making a critique of advertising (and through it, capitalism?) as a leftist (as a Christian socialist? Maybe?) which uses some of the tools of advertising.

    I'd like to see that argument be a little more complicated in the final version. Surely it *means* something that he adopts some of the tools/techniques of his ostensible enemies. Is he subverted by them? Is he mocking them more deeply through the use of their techniques? In other words, I'd like to see this argument become a little more reflective - don't simply observe that he's doing something, but ask what that thing should mean to us as readers.

    Great start.