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Satvinder "Sut" Jhally (born 29 May 1955) is a professor of Communication at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is a cultural studies scholar in the area of advertising, media, and consumption. He is the producer of several documentaries on media literacy topics and the founder and executive director of the Media Education Foundation,a non-profit established in 1992 which "produces and distributes video documentaries to encourage critical thinking and debate about the relationship between media ownership, commercial media content, and the democratic demand for free flows of information, diverse representations of ideas and people, and informed citizen participation."

Sut Jhally was born in Kenyamarker, and raised in Englandmarker. He moved to Canadamarker in 1978 after accepting a scholarship to the University of Victoriamarker. He continued his studies at Simon Fraser Universitymarker, where he received his Ph.D.


Jhally is often highly critical of popular culture, advertising, as well as various aspects of US foreign policy.

In his 1991 video "Dreamworlds" he describes the image of women in music videos as male adolescent fantasies: young and pretty, willing and eager to please men, saying no when meaning yes, often reduced to outward appearances and body parts. He concludes that an unhealthy attitude towards sexual violence can be fostered by these videos, and calls for balancing them with other cultural representations of sexuality. When MTV complained about his use of parts of copyrighted music videos, he claimed fair use and contacted the media about the story.

He has been quoted as saying, “Advertising tells us that the way to happiness is through the consumption of objects. The immense accumulation of commodities has to be sold, and it is sold through the story of goods bringing happiness.” In his essay "Advertising at the Edge of the Apocalypse" and his video "Advertising and the End of the World" he argues that the major cultural force today, pervasive advertising, by constantly reinforcing a bogus association between consumerism and happiness and by focusing on individual immediate needs, stands in the way of a discussion of societal and long-term needs and leads to a squandering of resources. The video "Killing Us Softly III", created with Jean Kilbourne, is a critique of the image of women in advertising.

Among other quotes students of his communication classes will hear from him, two of the most unforgettable are "knowing where something comes from, changes how you feel about it" and the phrase "the discourse through and about objects."

In the 2004 video "Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land" he shows the influence of Israelimarker propaganda and PR on the United States public opinion regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In the 2004 video "Hijacking Catastrophe" he argues that the "war on terror" has been used by U.S. officials as a pretext to project military power across the world.

In his 2006 video "Reel Bad Arabs" he explores the vilification of Arabs in American cinema, following Jack Shaheen's 2001 book Reel Bad Arabs.

Video documentaries


  • The spectacle of accumulation : essays in culture, media, & politics, (2006), ISBN 0820479047
  • Social Communication in Advertising (with William Leiss, Stephen Kline, and Jacqueline Botterill), (2004), ISBN 04-159-667-60
  • The Codes of Advertising (1999), ISBN 04-1590-353-X
  • Enlightened Racism (with Justin Lewis), (1992), ISBN 0813314194. Argues that The Cosby Show reinforced the myth that Blacks who don't "make it" have only themselves to blame.



  1. Media Education Foundation: Advertising & the End of the World
  2. Sut Jhally at the Internet Movie Database
  3. Media Education Foundation: About MEF
  4. Shop Till You ... Stop!
  5. A Professor's Class Video Runs Into an MTV Protest, The New York Times, 18 May 1991
  6. A Plan to Create a New World Order, The New York Times, 10 September 2004

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