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Semiotic Analysis Of A Stanley Cup Victory Photo

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There is an old adage that states a picture is worth a thousand words. In today's society pictures are signs, encoded visually. When looking at signs, one assumes several things, including that signs are arbitrary, conventional, and are used to reproduce realities. Realities are reproduces in signs by using items that we see, and associate everyday life with, while working them into unrealistic situations and ideas. Signifiers represent what we covet or strive to achieve, while what is signified is the idea behind them. When looked further into, one looks to see the impact of these signifiers and signified on society and the response thereafter.

When analyzing the message behind a picture one notices three distinct levels of signification. The first order being the description of signifiers and what they signify. In this example the first level of significance is marked by the three players from the winning team and the trophy they have just won. The signifiers are they players, the team they represent, and the trophy. What is signified by each is victory, and success. Each of the players on the team partakes in the victory, which makes the team victorious. But it is not the team however that is the important signifier, it is the trophy. This is because to the team, the trophy is a symbol of their victory, their success against opposition, and their struggle to the top against rivals they may have faced, and overcome.

The Second order of significance is to identify the code, or objects missing to determine the order of acceptance within a society. The first thing one notices in this picture is that only the winning team is shown. The losing

team is not shown, projecting an underlying message that they are unwanted, and rejected in this society. A looser does not get his picture taken, and does not hold a trophy. This is broken down further into the structure of the society and how one can expect to live as a winner or a looser. As this picture is a recreation of reality, not only is the looser absent from the picture, most often times they are left out in the real world as well. A winner in this kind of society is generally more accepted, as they are perceived to encase the signified; successful, and all of the above.

For the last order of significance, one attempts to interpret the mindset behind the message, and the ideologies that make the encoded message logical. In this society one can assume that since the losers are not present, the dominant philosophy would support Darwinism or something similar. The same way Darwinism preaches survival of the fittest this society excludes the leader, and includes only the most successful. The most "socially fit" candidate in this scenario being the victor.

This scene is a miniature of those that unfold in larger scales in everyday life. Ranging from things as simple as excluding drug abusers and criminals from ones associates, to as complex as social equality, and fairness in the workplace, a society that accepts winners and shuns losers holds many interesting facets that affect society both positively and negatively. Impacts on society and individual lives are wide and range from problems with childhood trauma, to the behavioral patterns of grown men and women of a whole nation.

One main impact of such realities upon a society is that it consists of mainly winners, or successful individuals, which is generally the makeup of a successful group. Even though losers are present, they don't seem to makeup parts of the same society, as a



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