by Kenneth Justice
~Have you ever noticed the way your mood changes depending on the people you are hanging out with? If you know you’re going to spend the evening with your best friend; you find yourself a little bit more cheerful than usual…..but if you know you have a dinner obligation with cranky relatives; you find yourself turning into a sourpuss.
Of course, this is something we were taught as children; “if you hang out with the bad crowd little Susie they are going to turn you bad” our parents told us.
The Broadway show “Grease” had to do with external influences and peer pressure…didn’t it?
So when many of us look back at our childhood we see instances in which ‘bad apples’ tried to turn us to the dark side and at times we prevailed and in other times we succumbed and gave in. But now we are adults…..we are mature, we are strong, we are mentally able to resist peer pressure; we’re no longer little kids who can be corrupted by external influences and peer pressure….right???
I’m not sure that there is ever a period in our life when we are totally peer-pressure-resistant. Especially when it comes to relatives, family, and those who are close to us; because it is those people who know how to push our buttons…..
But this article isn’t really about peer pressure….oddly enough its about the media, because if we are going to get down to brass tacks; the greatest form of influence in our lives here in Western Culture is the media.
I hate to make it sound like I’m attaching some kind of sinister Orwellian tone to the attention I give to the media, but lets be honest; whether bad or good the media influences all of us.
—) Commercials and advertisements are everywhere we go
—) NEWS is now 24/7 with numerous NEWS stations dedicated to round-the-clock broadcasts
In the past when I’ve discussed the subject of peer pressure and external influences, the stoic and stubborn announce; “Well I live life much of my life alone so I am not influenced by any person, religion, or philosophy…..I live life the way I WANT TO!” But lets be honest; unless you live in a hut out in rural Alaska with no electricity…..you never really get away from the media…do you?
Simply put, ‘media’ is defined as “mass communication” and includes, radio, television, advertisements, newspapers, the Internet, and more. Any medium that allows communication to flow en-masse is considered a form of media.
Like the black plague the media seems like it is everywhere we go; on billboards, in print adds, on the sides of busses…..everywhere. Whether it is intentional or not, the Media is constantly trying to influence our thoughts and actions. Advertisements are designed to influence us to purchase products, watch specific shows, and to motivate us to think a certain way.
—) When we discuss ‘what is normal’ we are often talking about the ‘standards’ that television shows attempt to convey
—) When we discuss ‘what is ethically right’ we are often talking about the ‘standards’ that politicians try to convince us of via Talking-Heads-Shows
—) When we discuss ‘what is relevant’ we are often talking about the NEWS stories that 24/7 NEWS shows throw at us on a regular basis.
So much of our lives is influenced by various forms of Media. At times we might find the head of some media conglomerate appeal to some level of virtuosity in their responsibility to the public; but more often than not the Media is motivated by money and viewership. The more viewers (or readers) the more money.
When we were younger, dealing with the ‘bad apples’ was a lot more simple; we knew that if we didn’t hang out with Jimmy and Jennifer than we wouldn’t be tempted to do drugs. We knew that if we stayed away from Mike and Michelle we wouldn’t be tempted to gossip……..
But what do we do about a Media that is everywhere? We can’t simply put our head under the pillows and hide from the influences of the Media. How do we deal with the fact that many of us think-a-certain-way…because the media has engrained it into our heads to think that way?
Let’s continue to be honest with ourselves; many of us are political and religious ideologues; we are not open to discussing the fact that our political, religious, or philosophical beliefs might be a bit foolish…..but its been drilled into our heads that we must hold to these beliefs with a tight fisted grip
We live in a culture where having civil debates over important issues always seems to turn into one big yell-fest. People get angry and hotheaded when someone disagrees with them…….
Is there any hope for the future of Western Civilization?
I really need another coffee this morning,
Categories: Culture & Society