CTS, Illustrated Book Review


This seemingly sweet and simple children’s tale begins with the introduction of Flospy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail and Peter Rabbit, old Mrs. Rabbit’s four little bunnies. Author, Beatrix Potter, sets the scene in a forest, “they lived with their Mother in a sandbank, underneath the foot of a big fir tree.” Mrs. Rabbit then goes on to warn her children that while she is out for the day, they are allowed to explore the fields but they are absolutely not allowed to enter Mr. McGregor’s garden. This is mentioned early on in the story and with it brings an immediate sense of foreboding. She reminds the children that their father was in fact baked into a pie and eaten by Mr. McGregor. This is quite a harsh reminder for the children and grim start to a children’s story for any child and parent reading along, “I don’t think the story could start off any worse than with four sweet, furry bunnies being shuffled out the door by their mother with a daily reminder to stay away from Mr. McGregor’s garden: “Your Father had an accident there; he was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor.

Of course, Peter Rabbit does not listen and goes anyway and the sense of foreboding thickens as soon as Peter sets foot into McGregor’s garden. Peter is greeted with his father’s murderer as he is munching his way through a lettuce at the end of the cucumber patch. When Peter does find himself in trouble, there’s an urgency and severity from the beginning. It feels like this is it for Peter and then just as it seems as though Peter will escape, “another hopeless disaster presents itself. He couldn’t get out under the door in the wall because he was a “fat little rabbit.” A “good rabbit” wouldn’t have eaten so much lettuce that he couldn’t get under a door.”

Peter Rabbit loses his shoes and clothes and ends up ‘naked’ and vulnerable, which is also quite an intimidating thought for a child. Peter ran for his life, “He slipped underneath the gate and was safe at last.” Once Peter has escaped, McGregor turns his jacket and shoes into a scarecrow  This story in simple terms is here to teach children to listen to their mother’s and not be naughty, yet the happenings throughout highlight the fact that Peter is a ‘thief’ and ends up chased and almost killed by a strange man.

CTS, Beyond Google

Within this lesson, we were asked to consider to the Internet as we know it. Many people just scratch the surface when it comes to the world wide web, databases and search engines. How do you find information and how reliable is the source? People are now looking for information on not just major search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing but are turning to social media outlets for a quick update or a news story. ‘The rabbit hole that is the Internet goes much deeper than most people know. In fact, the World Wide Web as we know it represents just 4% of networked web pages — the remaining 96% of pages make up what many refer to as the “Invisible Internet,” “Invisible Web” or “Deep Web.” This massive subsection of the Internet is 500 times bigger than the visible Web and is not indexed by search engines like Google.’ We have been encouraged to delve into the deep web whenever it comes to researching facts, journals, articles, or books. Because of the amount of information that has been stored and collected for a database like this many of these sites you would need to hold a membership to or at least pay some sort of fee. Many of them are used by the government, the police and some universities including London College of Communication!

When I began to look through the incredible range of databases including collections of texts on various subjects, sound recordings, bibliographies, broadcasts, journals, and images. One site in particular that holds a lot of value is Mintel Academic, which features a collection of statistics, market research, and economic data. This search engine categorizes it’s information into sector, theme and demographic.


How to Find the Invisible Internet

Images from Mintel Academic


CTS, Why Humour Matters

When it comes to humor there are various routes you can go with it, caricatures, laugh-at-life humor, “We’re in this together, and isn’t it fun?”. Slapstick comedy, sarcasm, dry/deadpan humour, witty humor and of course, jokes at others’ expense. To delve more into we looked into the three theories of humour.  Superiority, relief, and incongruity.

Superiority would be to make jokes at others’ expense, easily done and some would say cowardly. It’s very easy to make fun of someone and for me this links with the idea of sarcasm. Neither of this style of humour is particularly appealing from my point of view, especially when overused. We also looked at why things are funny, what specific aspect of a scenario is it that makes you laugh. This falls into incongruity, in which case when something seems totally out of place and impossible but at the same time normal. ‘From the perspective of the incongruity theory, people laugh at what surprises them, is unexpected, or is odd in a non-threatening way (Berger, 1976; Deckers & Divine, 1981; McGhee, 1979). The example we looked at in class was an advertisement campaign for Harvey Nichols in Bristol, in which the posters featured Bristol’s most adored working class superstars.


‘From the perspective of the relief theory, people experience humor and laugh because they sense stress has been reduced in a certain way’ (Berlyne, 1972; Morreall, 1983; Shurcliff, 1968). This is derived from a release of nervous energy. This is quite an interesting aspect of comedy, one I had never really considered before. I find one particular artist quite funny, Celeste Mountjoy, aka filthyratbag. A 16-year-old illustrator depicting people’s sad little traumas which many people can relate to. A combination of exaggeration and simple line drawings. With images like this, people can laugh at themselves.
Meyer, John C.(2000), ‘Humor as a double-edged sword: Four functions of humor in communication’, Communication theory 10.3: p. 312.

CTS, Stereotypes, The Darker Side to Illustration

Stereotypes are everywhere and one question which was raised in this lecture was how we personally view them. How they are shown in media, art and illustration. How do people portray others and is this a darker side to illustration? These stereotypes can come in many different forms such as discrimination against age, sex, race, what they look like or what their postcode is. One example we looked at was the character Vicky Pollard, played by Matt Lucas for the TV show Little Britain (2003). Here an extremely stereotypical character is shown in the form of a 15-year-old girl from Bristol, who has at least 12 children all of which are mixed race. Racism in the media can still be noted today as well, stereotypes against someone’s race based on how they look, this can be connected to physiognomy, which is the ‘supposed art of judging character from facial features.’ The image below represents the man on the left to be the more intelligent one, and as it moves across to the right, these features mean they are supposedly stupid and less intelligent. Extremely racist.


I personally find the stereotypes and ignorance towards Irish people quite frustrating. Especially towards the people of Northern Ireland. A war happened on land that you claimed yet when I ask people my age in London if they know anything about it because it’s not taught in schools. Some people don’t consider it but the Irish have been oppressed and it can be dated back to 1155. I remember my mum telling me when she was a kid in the 60s she would see posters outside bars reading, “No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs”. This Irish have always faced major stereotypical criticism. If in 2017 I’m being asked about leprechauns… then you can understand my frustration.