Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Mass Media and Entertainment Essay
IÃ¢â¬â¢ll go ahead and say it: Neal GablerÃ¢â¬â¢s Ã¢â¬Å"Life the MovieÃ¢â¬ makes valid points. Because of AmericaÃ¢â¬â¢s dependence on technology-based media entertainment it is impossible not to interact with the distracting and alluring world of expressive communication. The world we live in today is sadly not the one that Henry David Thoreau was able to circumnavigate for two years in 1845. Today, to avoid media, is to be totally shut away from the world. Gone are the days of subtle newsprint and objective journalism. They have been trampled by 24-hour news cycles and narcissism-based social networking sights like Twitter and Facebook. While I canÃ¢â¬â¢t help but agree with Gabler on the mediaÃ¢â¬â¢s degenerative effects, there is a brighter side to a globalized system of entertainment. Entertainment can certainly ruin society if given the chance. Take for instance, MTVÃ¢â¬â¢s Ã¢â¬Å"Jersey ShoreÃ¢â¬ . A show with absolutely no moral integrity, but simple humor and sex appeal can make money, so realistically; executives will invest in more of the same material. At the same time, hate/fear-mongering media moguls like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh have a devoted, if not cult-like following of 60-somethings that they control in the name of Ã¢â¬Å"entertainmentÃ¢â¬ . Clearly, entertainment has the capacity to ruin the structure of society, for better or worse. Whereas sites like Twitter and Facebook can be detrimental to society, they can also cause positive progress. Very recently, young Iranian revolutionaries used Twitter as a means of communication, education, and unity. Videos of citizens beaten to death in the streets were accompanied by calls to action, as a youthful and courageous Iranian population revolted against its oppressive government on the computer and TV screens of the globalized world. Furthermore, recent crisis like the tsunamis in Indonesia, hurricane in New Orleans, and earthquakes in Haiti were brought into the homes of the prosperous and caring across the world. Although tragic, these events demonstrated the capacity that a connected human populous has for charity. Billions of dollars in relief money has been donated in the past decade, thanks to the stirring images captured not only by corporate cameramen, but also by civilian camcorder. Thus, to define entertainment as solely destructive or beneficial is unjust. People are not always wise enough to turn off what they know is subjective information, but they are no means praying to neon gods. In his book Ã¢â¬Å"Life the Movie,Ã¢â¬ Neal Gabler discusses how entertainment has taken over the reality. This is true in every way: people watch television or movies, listen to music, and Facebook stalk their friends just to get out of their own heads for a while. It is an escape from their realities. Gabler argues that the outlet the media has come to provide can potentially ruin society. This is true in many cases. Certain forms of entertainment can indeed Ã¢â¬Å"overturn all moralityÃ¢â¬ and Ã¢â¬Å"poison the springs of domestic happiness.Ã¢â¬ Music, specifically, is one type of entertainment that has the capacity to cause people to compromise their morals. It has a sneaky way of planting new thoughts in our minds. Music artists think of lyrical euphemisms to subtly engrain an idea into their listeners minds. For example, in their song Ã¢â¬Å"Fast Blood,Ã¢â¬ the ingenious Scottish band Frightened Rabbit sings about a Ã¢â¬Å"midnight organ fightÃ¢â¬âÃ¢â¬ a clever euphemism for sex. Even if their listener wasnÃ¢â¬â¢t sure what that line meant, the rest of the lyrics would help him piece it together fairly quickly. ItÃ¢â¬â¢s a beautiful song, and soon enough, the listener finds himself singing along, and the idea that sex allows a person to feel Ã¢â¬Å"rebornÃ¢â¬ has now become a belief of this listener. And, whabam, there we have a compromised moral resulting from the idea of one song. The characters and stories found in movies, books, and television are aspects of entertainment that most certainly have the ability to ruin society. They can jeopardize a familyÃ¢â¬â¢s happiness by creating an image of the Ã¢â¬Å"idealÃ¢â¬ spouse or significant other or family. Stefanie MeyerÃ¢â¬â¢s Twilight Saga, for example, creates the character of Edward Cullen: the perfect lover. Comedian Whitney Cummings made a good point in her stand up routine Ã¢â¬Å"Money ShotÃ¢â¬ when she said, Ã¢â¬Å"Women are obsessed with romanceÃ¢â¬ ¦we get brainwashed from romantic movies.Ã¢â¬ She said she went to go see the movie Ã¢â¬Å"TwilightÃ¢â¬ thinking it was just about high schoolers and came out thinking, Ã¢â¬Å"Ohh, I have to marry a vampire, oh my God,Ã¢â¬ and proceeded to address the males in her audience, Ã¢â¬Å"Guys, donÃ¢â¬â¢t let your girlfriends see this movie: she will leave your ass, okay?Ã¢â¬ Movies like Ã¢â¬Å"TwilightÃ¢â¬ create this image of the perfect man. If women see that and begin to compare their husbands to Edward Cullen, divorce papers will soon be a-rustling. Characters like these create impossible standards for men to live up to! And pornography does the same to women: men look at these beautiful women with perfect bodies and begin to idealize females. And then no woman is good enough for them because it is impossible for a woman to look like that without plastic surgery, a crapload of make up, and a whole hell of a lot of photoshop. Media like this has the potential to destroy relationships because it establishes an unreachable standard. So, yes, Gabler makes a good point. Although entertainment can be Ã¢â¬Å"fun, effortless, sensational, mindless, formulaic, predictable and subversiveÃ¢â¬ and that is why people love it so much, it can be detrimental to society as a whole. In his 1998 book, Life the Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality, Neal Gabler makes the assertion that entertainment has the capacity to Ã¢â¬Å"ruinÃ¢â¬ society. Although plenty of entertainment features positive messages and portrays good role models, I completely agree with idea the entertainment can ruin society because a large percentage of entertainment and media can acclimate viewersÃ¢â¬â¢ minds toward violence and it can corrupt citizensÃ¢â¬â¢ views of society and of themselves. In our modern media there are thousands upon thousands of movies, tv shows, songs, and video games that encourage violence and other negative behavior. Many people believe this to be harmless fun, but in instances when consumers blur the line between fantasy and reality it can become very dangerous. One tragic instance of this occurred June 7, 2003, when 3 men, 2 police officers and a 9-11 dispatcher, were killed in an Alabama police station by 18 year-old Devin Moore, who had played Grand Theft Auto day and night for months before the shooting. During his arrest, Moore is reported to have told police, Ã¢â¬Å"Life is like a video game. EverybodyÃ¢â¬â¢s got to die sometime.Ã¢â¬ Entertainment can also ruin society by destroying citizensÃ¢â¬â¢ views of society and of themselves. From magazines to movies to television, the media has created a standard of near perfection that many people struggle to live up to because they want to be accepted. For example, professional athletes like Lebron James, Payton Manning, and many others have caused many aspiring athletes to look down upon themselves because they are not able to perform to the same level as the pros. Although many celebrities have contributed great acts of charity to society, that does not change the fact that much of entertainment, which these celebrities are apart of, encourages negative behavior. If not brought under control, these negative behaviors can bring about the downfall of society as we know it. Entertainment can be in many different forms: television, magazines, books, the computer, music, etc. And according to Neal Gabor in his book, Ã¢â¬Å"Life the Movie,Ã¢â¬ all of these things are Ã¢â¬Å"fun, effortless, sensational, mindless, formulaic, predictable, and subversive.Ã¢â¬ The fact that because of these reasons, people like entertainment is true. However, just because people like something, or enjoy it, doesnÃ¢â¬â¢t mean itÃ¢â¬â¢s not harmless. People who go tan in tanning beds everyday enjoy doing it, but in reality it triples their risk of skin cancer. The social impacts of entertainment are already showing in todayÃ¢â¬â¢s society. People are communicating less and less by person, and more and more by computers. When people lose their ability to communicate with the people around them outside of their entertainment bubble, the sense of community is lost, and is causing increased health risks. All this said, it is not true that ALL entertainment will completely Ã¢â¬Å"dissolve the ties of our social orderÃ¢â¬ . If entertainment is used in moderation and people learn to make the distinction between entertainment and reality, then it can be an enjoyable experience. But because all people donÃ¢â¬â¢t do these things, entertainment does have the capacity to Ã¢â¬Å"ruin societyÃ¢â¬ society falls apart. In addition, some of the things that entertainment exposes society to can alter the thoughts and decisions of Americans and cause problems for society. For example, TV networks are creating shows like Ã¢â¬Å"AmericaÃ¢â¬â¢s Next Top Model,Ã¢â¬ and giving people the idea that in order to be beautiful you have to be dangerously thin and look like a model. This causes poor self-images, and causes people to be unhappy. To make matters worse, celebrities everywhere are getting cosmetic surgery. This gives audiences the idea that they shouldnÃ¢â¬â¢t be happy with who they actually are, and that in order to be happy, they have to waste tons of money on unnecessary procedures. Also, the percentage of people getting divorced in America has been increasing lately. This is most likely because of the fact that celebrities are getting divorced left and right, and itÃ¢â¬â¢s starting to become Ã¢â¬Å"the norm.Ã¢â¬ People are making money off of those divorces by selling the stories (in gossip magazines) as entertainment. Entertainment portrays false realities that have potential to crumble social aspects of society. Not only does entertainment have the capacity to Ã¢â¬Å"ruinÃ¢â¬ society socially, but it can also cause health related consequences. The percentage of Americans that are either overweight or obese is somewhere around 63% and that is constantly increasing. Though it is true that part of the cause for this is the amount of processed foods we eat, but another large part of it is the amount of time we spend sitting, a concept that goes along with entertainment. Today people donÃ¢â¬â¢t have the need to go out much to be Ã¢â¬Å"happyÃ¢â¬ . Children can sit andwatch TV or play video games for entertainment, and no longer need to go outside to play with their friends. Also, because of computers people donÃ¢â¬â¢t need to leave their house to communicate with friends, they can just do it on Facebook. People donÃ¢â¬â¢t even have to leave their house to grocery shop anymore; they can just use their computer. The fact is that entertainment has made America into a very sedentary country, which Just like a friendÃ¢â¬â¢s influence on oneÃ¢â¬â¢s behavior, entertainment has the capacity to destroy or strengthen oneÃ¢â¬â¢s character. Someone can choose between entertainment with fleeting pleasure or lasting value. i. Maybe entertainment can ruin society because it is so distracting. For example, if kids and teenagers fill all of their time with entertainment instead of education, then how might this ruin society? ii. Maybe entertainment can ruin society by overturning morality. What are some ways that entertainment might change a societyÃ¢â¬â¢s moral principles for the worst? For example, do violent video games cause people to believe that killing is not morally wrong? If so, how would this ruin a society? iii. Maybe, as your quote above claims, entertainment does dissolve the ties of social order. Does entertainment contribute to increased crime or civil unrest? Can you think of ways that entertainment directly or indirectly causes a societyÃ¢â¬â¢s rule of law to break down?