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Bibliography by Jonathan Svilar

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(Page Naming Convention: Name your new page: Bibliography by Your Name.  Remove this line when you are done.)

Annotated Bibliography Assignment


By Jonathan Svilar, Heart of Darkness Project Team


1. Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. New York, New York: Signet Classic, 1950.


            From the very beginning of the story, it is clear to readers that there is something very fishy about the Company that Marlow works for. Though the Company's offices were "the biggest thing in the town" (Conrad, 73) there is a sense that the Company is poorly run by lackluster management. Marlow's interview took a grand total of "forty-five seconds" in which his boss' primary concern was Marlow's French and getting him to "sign some document…" mostly  contracting Marlow not to "disclose any trade secrets" (Conrad 74). The importance of this Company to the overall story is almost unparalleled in literature: it's failures essentially compound every situation that Marlow finds himself in throughout the story. Despite this, Marlow pursues working with the Company due to what must be the result of some good Public Relations and some extensive advertising. The Heart of Darkness team would like to take that idea and apply it to the archetype of the modern corporate website. The majority of our inspiration will come directly from the book and from what the Company stands for throughout the novel: money. The website will glaze over (or be overly defensive regarding) any controversy that would definitely result from the ivory trade in the modern world. The project may feature a rival website of sorts in order to better facilitate the understanding of the Company's dual nature: that it attempts to appear as an upstanding, environmentally friendly modern corporation, when in reality it ravages an endangered species and the indigenous people in its path. In addition, Marlow is quite excited to start working for this Company at first, and it is only after several weeks of working for the Company that Marlow realizes that the Company's holdings in the Congo are far less than satisfactory. The website will allude to the fact that the Company may be less than satisfactory in its hierarchal structure by using incredibly vague and flowery language in describing its practices.




2. Exxon Mobil. 14 2 2008 <http://www.exxonmobil.com/corporate/>.


            It will come as little surprise to anyone today that the oil business is one wrought with controversy and shady business practices. Much like the tobacco industry, it is becoming harder and harder each year to justify the actions of the oil industry. Rumors surrounding the war in the Middle East and the ever increasing prices on oil creates mountains of doubt in the average American's mind about the reputation of such companies. Despite this aura of mystery surrounding the business, oil companies are selling barrels by the hundreds of thousands to consumers every day in this country. Part of the reason is that America has become addicted (again, like the tobacco industry) to gasoline, we simply cannot fathom the thought of living without our giant gas guzzling hummers. Another reason, the one that is more important to our project, is the incredible PR that surrounds the industry. In reality, the corporate website for these oil companies is the only real look that most Americans get into the world of big oil. These websites are aesthetically pleasing to the average web surfer and serves as a archival record of every good deed the company has done for positive press. The Exxon Mobil website is the epitome of this website example. The front page of the site includes the recent news trumpeting the recent "technological record" that the company has broken in Russia. Right next to the "Products and Services" link on the front page is a link to their page discussing "Energy and Environment" suggesting that the company takes its impact on the environment as seriously as it does its own revenue. This equates essentially to the tobacco industry trumpeting its desire to keep its customers healthy and happy. This website is serving as one of the many inspirations for the layout of the website for the Company from Heart of Darkness. It is a sort of model that we will examine to explore the various possibilities for the various links and pages we will create within the site.



3. The Corporate Asylum. 1995. 14 2 2008 <http://www.thecorporateasylum.com/>.


            One important element that the Heart of Darkness project will incorporate into its website is an attack of the clichés commonly explored deeply by the Dilbert comics world. Unfortunately, while the members working on the project are tentatively aware of the often humorous corporate world, there is a vast ocean of clichés of which we are sadly ignorant. The members of the group have yet to step into the more mundane seas of cubicles and as far as I am aware, have only set foot into the abusive world of unskilled labor. The team wishes to incorporate this world of corporate clichés and buzz terms into the web space that we will create for the Company from Heart of Darkness. This entry serves as a series of narratives from the point of view of a narrator who calls himself The Inmate, obviously playing off the often imprisoning nature of the corporate world. This website will provide insight into this often ironic world of incompetent bosses who often clearly have about as much talent for managing a business as they would for digging a hole through the center of the Earth. The Heart of Darkness team will use this website as a resource for exploring and implementing this sense of corporate ironies into the website.




4. Wal-Mart. 2007. 14 2 2008 <http://www.walmart.com/>.


            There are few companies that polarize Americans more than the juggernaut Wal-mart. One side decries the mistreatment of the employees on both sides of the Pacific and their alleged destruction of mom and pop stores across the United States. Opponents site instances where Wal-mart makes promises and fails to keep them, such as the story regarding the alleged sale of shirts bearing the symbol of the 3rd SS Division Totenkopf designed by the Nazis in World War II (http://consumerist.com/348776/walmart-nazi-tshirt-watch-week-62) and their promises to destroy them (apparently a large number were "sold to a discount store or burned" but some still remain in Wal-Mart stores some 62 weeks later. The other side of the fence, the overzealous consumer, loves Wal-mart and all it stands for: doing everything to provide the customer with the lowest possible prices. The website ideas are also very relevant to the Heart of Darkness project page. Wal-mart has a very user friendly site that does not only feature almost every product you can purchase online and at your local store, but also features links to things like the Wal-mart blog (which features an interesting dichotomy of a more familiar method of delivering product placement and some very formal business language) and a page filled with random facts about Wal-Mart (including a story about how "Wal-Mart Honors The Heritage And Experiences Of African-Americans"). Among the more interesting pages is the site regarding sustainability, in which Wal-mart includes details about Wal-mart's recycling plan and something called "Ethical Sourcing" which seems to be about ethical outsourcing. This site interests the team because of it's incredibly sweet façade, despite some dissenting evidence to the contrary.  


5. Wal-Mart Watch. 2005. 14 2 2008 <http://walmartwatch.com>.



            Wal-Mart Watch is considered to be a more literal predecessor to our project. While our project attempts to be more of a satire of big business, Wal-Mart Watch has the more specific and far reaching goal of actually dismantling Wal-Mart’s empire. The website is almost a direct replica of Wal-Mart’s, featuring an incredibly similar layout and color scheme to the corporate juggernaut. This serves as an inspiration for what may become the anti-Company website that the team creates to bring the negative aspects of the ivory business to a more obvious playing field. It may become too difficult to subtly hint at problems within the Company while still making the Company act as it would legitimately act in the modern world, hence: the creation of a second web-blog attacking the ethics (or more specifically the lack thereof) of the Company from Heart of Darkness. The project may directly lift some of the more sensible web links directly from Wal-Mart Watch, including but not limited to “Press Research” and “Issues” as they directly correlate to the issues that would be relevant to a modern ivory business. Another possibility is the boiling down of the concept of Wal-Mart Watch into a more basic blog approach… the possibilities are boundless.


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