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Letters to the Editor

by Archives March 25, 2008

This concerns the article published in the March 11 issue, “Canadian Forces ads, and now CSIS . . . ” by Tobi Elliott.
I hardly consider myself part of “Concordia’s activist component,” nor do I wish to try and bolster Concordia’s reputation for radicalism, but I am still concerned by The Concordian’s decision to publish military ads.
I have no problem with information on the Canadian Forces being available to those students who are interested, but to have it disseminated through the manipulative medium of advertising is worrisome. Advertising seeks to create a brand image that sells itself through association with fears, values and images of lifestyle that have little or nothing to do with the product in question. It is the manipulation of desire for political or commercial purposes, plain and simple. Is this a good way for people who are still forming their conception of self to receive information?
What’s more, the information contained in the Canadian Forces ad along with its bold and valiant imagery is pretty vacuous. Do you think it’s a good idea for people to sign up for the Canadian Forces because they offer “training and education programs” and a “competitive salary?”
I personally feel that anyone fit to join the Canadian forces would do so out of a deep-rooted commitment to serving their country, or attempting to make a difference in the world – not out of a need for a competitive salary, training or education.
If students need information about the military, let them get it from a soldier at a career fair, or through another solicited source of information.
Furthermore, I have read in the past about the military interfering with the content of publications by threatening to pull its advertising and associated revenues. While this may seem abstract and impractical as a reason to deny advertising space, it does speak to the fact that the military is out to manipulate the message that is being taken up by a given readership and does not offer “just another source of information” in an innocent and unassuming way.
As I’m sure you have gleaned by now, I object to advertising in principle. That said, I do understand that The Concordian needs advertising revenue.
This hardly precludes the paper from making decisions about prospective advertisers based on normative concerns over what content is distributed through the publication.
Let’s not forget Marshall McLuhan’s famous dictum “the medium is the message.”

Justin Shoub
Political Science

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