Cover image for Battle of symbols : global dynamics of advertising, entertainment and media
Battle of symbols : global dynamics of advertising, entertainment and media
Fraim, John.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
[Einsiedeln, Switzerland] : Daimon, [2003]

Physical Description:
418 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
Format :


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E169.12 .F73 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Symbols increasingly dominate international communication. The events of 9/11 and the ongoing war against terrorism demonstrate their power. Yet few understand them. Now, more than ever, it is important to understand symbols in a global context. Battle of Symbols examines 9/11 and current events in light of global symbolism. While 9/11 represented the beginning of the war against terrorism, the real "battle of symbols" started long before September 11th and will continue long after the fall of Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein. The book defines current global symbols and observes the response of the American symbolism industry to the events of 9/11. As Fraim notes, the events of 9/11 offered a rare opportunity to observe how American symbols are created (by Madison Avenue advertising and Hollywood entertainment), communicated (by New York media) and managed (by Washington public relations). One of the more hopeful outcomes of 9/11 was the instigation of an international dialogue about the power of symbols. From this continuing dialogue America and the world have gained a new awareness of the growing power of symbols. Whether this awareness will lead to a new understanding of symbols on a national and global scale is one of the most important questions facing America (and the world) today. Book jacket.

Author Notes

John Fraim is President of The GreatHouse Company. He is a leading authority on symbolism and the creator of His writing has appeared in a number of publications and online journals including Business 2.0, The Industry Standard, Ad Busters, The Journal of Marketing, First Monday, Spark OnLine, Media & Culture Journal, The Journal of Psychohistory, Anthropology News and Psychological Perspectives. His book Spirit Catcher won the 1997 Small Press Award for Best Biography. He has a BA in History from UCLA and a JD from Loyola Law School

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Fraim (president of The GreatHouse Company, a research and publishing firm concerned with the symbolism of popular culture) believes that 9/11 instigated a dialogue on the international power of symbols and provides an opportunity to observe how symbols are "created," "communicated," and "managed," by media via movies, advertising, public relations, and the Internet. He contends that Americans fail to understand symbols in a global context; they spend a great deal of time speaking and writing the language of symbols but little time listening to or reading the language created. The rest of the world, while producing fewer symbols, keenly observes the US's production of symbols. Though Islam fundamentalists despise American symbols, they understand their power and attempt to hijack them. Fraim sees the destruction of the twin towers, a symbol of the West's economy, as the co-option of the West's symbol-making power. He provides an interesting, insightful discussion of the psychological dualities--West versus East, masculine versus feminine, future versus past, place versus space, etc.--that find expression in culture and contemporary events, and media's responses to them. Of value to scholars and others interested in the global social and cultural impact of symbols. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Public and academic library collections, lower-division undergraduate through faculty. J. L. Allen University of New Haven

Table of Contents

Prologue: Diminution of Lightp. 13
Acknowledgmentsp. 19
Introduction: Disneyland in Septemberp. 21
Part 1 A Contemporary Perspective on Symbols
1. Mustering the Symbolsp. 27
Hard and Soft Powerp. 30
The Paradox of American Powerp. 33
Battle of Symbolsp. 34
2. Symbolsp. 37
Hidden Persuadersp. 38
Elusiveness of Symbolsp. 39
Dual Elements of Symbolsp. 41
The Spirit of the Timesp. 42
Techniques of Magicp. 42
Past Dreams to Present Brandsp. 44
Observation of Leading Symbolsp. 46
The Context of Leading Symbolsp. 48
3. Dynamics of Symbolsp. 53
Cyclesp. 54
1) Dualityp. 56
2) Directionp. 58
Sequencep. 59
Symbol Sequence of 20th Century Americap. 61
Symbol Sequence of American Historyp. 62
Symbol Sequence in Astrologyp. 63
Alignmentp. 66
1) Correspondencep. 68
2) Synesthesiap. 70
3) Synchronicityp. 73
4) Collective Psychologyp. 75
Differentiationp. 77
Alignment & Differentiationp. 79
Part 2 Clash and Commonality
4. Globalization of Symbolsp. 87
The American Recruitment of Symbolsp. 88
Irony, Paradox and Powerp. 89
Trance of Symbolsp. 90
The Spread of American Symbolsp. 93
Nations as Symbolsp. 95
Corporations as Symbolsp. 97
Civilizations as Symbolsp. 99
Emerging Symbol of Islamic Civilizationp. 102
Perceptions of Arabsp. 107
Emerging Symbol of Western Civilizationp. 110
Emerging Symbol City of the Global Economyp. 115
Perceptions of Americansp. 117
Close-Ups and Panoramasp. 120
Islam as Medium Coolp. 122
5. Traditional Symbol Dualitiesp. 127
West and Eastp. 129
Masculine and Femininep. 133
Future and Pastp. 134
Place and Spacep. 136
Eye and Earp. 139
Relative and Absolutep. 143
Above and Below (Vertical and Horizontal)p. 147
Outside and Inside (Extraversion and Introversion)p. 151
6. Contemporary Symbol Dualitiesp. 155
Electricity and Firep. 157
Spirituality and Religionp. 159
Physics and Biologyp. 164
Pyramids and Networksp. 166
Production and Consumptionp. 169
Export and Import (Localism vs. Globalism)p. 173
Capitalism and Fundamentalismp. 178
Old and Young Generationsp. 180
City and Country (Culture and Nature)p. 184
Pluralism and Totalitarianism (An Invisible Civil War)p. 189
7. Contemporary Symbol Alignmentsp. 195
East and West Commonalitiesp. 196
Hybrid Symbols and Dandelion Seedsp. 197
Generationsp. 199
Technologyp. 201
Gendersp. 204
Lifestylesp. 205
Beliefsp. 206
The Technique of Analogyp. 210
Merger of Symbolsp. 211
Part 3 Battle of Symbols
8. Putting Symbols into Battlep. 215
Marshall Bush and the Dukep. 216
The Frontier Symbolp. 219
Sending Wrong Symbolsp. 220
A Nameless Eventp. 222
Casting Hollywood in the Battlep. 223
Elements of the Battlep. 223
9. Creating Symbols: The Entertainment Industryp. 227
Television Entertainmentp. 229
Filmsp. 234
New Heroes and Villainsp. 235
Hollywood's Symbols for Evilp. 237
The Government as Herop. 240
Hollywood Goes to Warp. 241
The Role of Starsp. 243
10. Creating Symbols: The Advertising Industryp. 247
Return of Singing Toilet Bowlsp. 249
Campfires of Brandsp. 251
Chianti Over Cabernetp. 254
Advertising the "Lion of Islam"p. 256
Fashion Goes Out of Fashionp. 258
Advertising Goes Out of Fashionp. 261
Advertising Becomes Invisible: The Plot Thickensp. 262
11. Transmission of Symbols: Media & Communicationsp. 267
TV News - Branding an Olympics of Terrorp. 270
Declining Interest in the Warp. 271
CNN and the "Shelf Life" of Newsp. 272
Today's War Brought to You By ...p. 274
The Arab CNNp. 276
Box Cutters and A Disaster Spectacularp. 277
Epidemic of Fearp. 280
The Virus of Postmodern Culturep. 283
Going Postalp. 285
Symbols of the Nightp. 286
One Way Transmissionp. 288
Media and the Muslim Worldp. 289
The Internet Tricksterp. 292
The Internet and Authoritarian Regimesp. 295
The Ghost Town of High Techp. 299
Radio in Afghanistanp. 303
12. Managing Symbolsp. 309
Father Spinp. 310
Spinning Outwardp. 318
The Madison Avenue Spinp. 325
Branding Problemsp. 327
Beyond Brandingp. 331
Spin Ladenp. 332
13. Understanding Symbolsp. 335
Observing Her Creationsp. 336
The Paradox of Understandingp. 337
Introversion and Production of Symbolsp. 338
America in the 90sp. 341
The Symbol of Bill Clintonp. 344
Idealism Shatteredp. 346
The Glass Housep. 347
One-Way Mirrorsp. 349
Extraversion and Reduction of Symbolsp. 352
Twilight Time of Symbolsp. 355
14. Emerging Global Dynamicsp. 363
Epilogue: Looking For Homep. 371
About the Authorp. 377
About the Photographers and the Cover Artistp. 378
Bibliographyp. 379
Notesp. 387
Indexp. 411