It has been a long time since I have sat down and watched television. I remember as a child watching television for hours. Maybe it was innocence and wanting to know more about the world, or simply, television was a lot more entertaining. Over the last few years the television for me has somewhat become an artifact, gathering dust in the corner of my house. The lack of interest I have in the programs and its content has been much for evident for me as I would rather read a book. However, a growing trend of reality tv shows has come about.
To think that major corporations are the ones who are responsible for the media, but not necessarily this; they control the way we view the media and thus the world. Setting ideologies and creating new versions or distorted realities, almost like a dystopian world.
I believe that the media is very much responsible in shaping the way that children see them themselves. Sexualization of children is big in today’s society but has been around for a long time in even children’s tv shows. A great example of this is sexual messages in Disney films. One of the shows that stands out for me is Toddlers and Tiaras where the contestants are competing in a pageant. These girls (and boys) are from the ages of 0-12. This show has had many controversies surrounding the sexualization of children and how, most astonishingly, the parents support it.
I think its important for us as a society to understand how media shapes us and how it affects the way children view themselves. It’s important to know who controls the media and what their motives are to choose such programmes to air on television.
The Honey Boo Boo trailer.
VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED.
After this years 2013 Mardi Gras, there circulated a video that showed a young man by the name of Jamie being thrown to the ground by police. This video became viral in just a few days and it was the main focus of media for a week. enquiries were made after this video depicted the police using unnecessary force and mistreating the young man. The footage that was captured by a bystander showed a very disoriented teenager with blood on the floor and crying from obvious shock. He seemed to be intoxicated with alcohol and also seemed a lot smaller in size than the police officer that was involved. Needless to say, this sparked outrage in the GLBT community as they were shocked to have witnessed such treatment by the police at an event where they felt they should have been protected. As the investigations went on, Jamie appeared on news channels such as Current Affair and Today Tonight. In both of these videos he said that he respected the police as they are there to protect but that he felt he was “treated like a piece of meat”. This video clearly shows the harsh actions that were taken by police. However, the video was shot half way though the incident in which viewers must understand that it must be viewed in context. As a result of this, there were many angry people and petitions were made to remove the police officers in question from their position.
On the day of the rally on Oxford street against police brutality, new video emerged captured by another bystander showing Jamie resisting the police, kicking and punching them. This part of the incident was shot before the first video which became viral. This is important evidence as it places Jamie in a different light. No longer does he seem helpless. The video shows him fighting the officers before they got aggressive. before I watched this video, I did have sympathy for Jamie. I did not feel it was necessary to use such extreme force, but I also didn’t think that police would handcuff someone in public without any reason. Some people felt that this was a homophobic act, but in reality, it could have happened at any major event. What I find most interesting is that the first video made headlines and it was very much the centre of media for a week. The video was seen by million of viewers, and as Jamie comments in the Current Affair interview, he unwillingly became famous overnight. However, the video showing him punching and kicking the officers is not that well-known. I believe it may be because the video was weeks after the incident and after the hype had died down, or alternatively because the ‘entertainment’ value of the video was not as great as the first.
I had never experienced so much forced advertising about food until I went to the USA. There I was sitting in my hotel room watching another instalment of Jerry Springer, as you do, until suddenly the fist commercial came on and I had to jump to the remote to turn thing down. The commercial was significantly louder than the program and the images are were exaggerated: “FOOD! FOOD! GREASY FAST FOOD! CHEAP FOOD! MORE FOOD! DID I MENTION FOOD?! FOOD!” Ok i get it you want me to die of a heart attack. But seriously, then the next commercial was followed by another food ad, just as obnoxious and loud as the first which then ironically enough, was followed by some weight loss ad. I find these 2 things rather confusing and I always thought it was so strange to put the 2 commercials adjacent to each other.
A lot of people say that fast food and its commercials are probably the directs links to obesity. I don’t always agree with this, however I do believe that it may be an advocate for obesity. I still strongly believe that people make their own choices, but with the media making these commercial so enticing for the viewers, I don’t only think that the images that are on the ads are the only way that it entices. For example, I remember going to McDonald’s when I was younger and always getting the happy meal. This was so because of the toy that was given. And every week i would go to collect the toy with my meal so by the end I had the whole collection of that months promotion. Had there been no toy, I may not have had the same interest. Now, putting this same entice, and substituting the toy for the ‘value’ of the meal is now into context for me as a University student. As the stereotype goes, university students are the not the richest of all social groups so, cheap, quick and easy are sweet melodies to our ears. Such is the same for families on the go. Society today, for the most part and not all families, have time to even prepare a home meal. Fast food is the obvious choice. Quick and simple. But have you noticed the ads for fast food? The burgers look amazing and bigger than in real life, presentation is immaculate and most importantly its good value for its price. When was the last time you saw and advertisement for the most expensive meal on the a fast food chains menu? The fact is, most people do not want to see a commercial for an expensive item on the menu, they want good value for money. Advertisement companies know this. I believe tapping into this mindset of good value for money is a great marketing strategy and I believe It’s weak spot for consumers. So commercial are not only visually enticing but also, gives us the impression that we are getting our monies worth.
But then comes the flip side – Biggest Loser. A a television show depicting some of the most obese people on television for everyone to see. It’s almost ridiculing. I feel this is contradictory: the television which feeds us, pun intended, commercial after commercial about cheap value for money fast food, is the same television that then showcases these people as social pariahs, not being able to lead a ‘normal’ life. The society that provides and pushes us with images of food, is the same society that ridicules and rejects people for over consuming. I find this utterly hypocritical. But what is most shocking, is that media does not take some responsibility for it, instead they go to the end of the problem and make the issue the main focus of their problem.
I do believe in choice and I do believe that we control ultimately what we put into our bodies, but I also believe that media has strategically adapted to our culture and to the way we live by subconsciously sending messages to us. Furthermore, slim celebrities gone ‘fat’ also seems to be the centre of entertainment.
But in saying this, as much as it pushes all these advertisements, the Biggest Loser for example, is a good show depicting our social norms. In fact media plays a big part in ideologies, that we as society create almost a war between our thoughts which I believe creates confusion within ourselves: If you’re fat, you are not attractive. If you’re skinny you are anorexic. If you’re too happy, you’re weird. If you’re sad, you’re an emo. If you dress in black, you’re also an emo/goth. If you are confident, you’re arrogant. If you’re too pretty, you’re dumb. If you’re dumb, you’re blond or pretty etc. Media does not give us a middle ground. It doesn’t provide us with the stability to know what we grow into is going to be socially accepted. We take risks or we follow a trend, sometimes it is detrimental to our wellbeing.
The video below is a song that came out through the “emo” period. When this song became viral it did offend people. It was meant to be as a joke. I took as a joke even though I would have socially being pigeon-holed into the “emo” circle.
Remember those old mobile phones they had years ago? They were black and the size of your forearm? Remember how big the antenna was and how people clipped it on their belt, walking proudly proclaiming they could make phone calls, wirelessly on the street? Yeah, me either. The truth is, they were heavy, had short battery life and they were very expensive. But despite this, they revolutionised the way we communicated. No longer did we have to get home before we made the phone call on the landline, and no longer did we have to make the effort to go and physically find the person to have the conversation. A few buttons and all that effort vanished. As time went on, the mobile phones became smaller, for the most part, and the content use became vastly larger. Not only could we sent text messages to our friends but we could then contact them using various ‘apps’ or ‘widgets’; sending them picture messages or even calling them from the other side of the world using apps that allowed you to make free international calls.
I personally remember the day the iPhone came out. The hype was out of this world and the apple store in Sydney was crazy. People lined out front and camped over night for days to be the one of the first people to have the new Smartphone. And smart indeed it was. Not only could this phone do everything that your average desktop and landline combined, but it changed completely the way that we interacted with humans. Everything was accessible at the palm of our hands.
But have you ever wanted to take that perfect photo and missed the moment while fumbling for your phone in your bag? ALAS! A SOLUTION HAS BEEN MADE!
Photo and film shooting has never been so easy…and stylish!
Introducing the new Google Glass. The technology that will change the way we live! I know, a very bold statement, but seeing how the smartphone shaped the way we communicated, it would be fair to say that the Google Glass would be an extension of that involvement. With features of voice control, video camera and a still shot camera, GPS and internet, the google glass is sure to be the next best, and possibly controversial technology on the market.
The questions we have to ask ourselves are how wold this further change the way we interact? Would consumers be able to function without it? With the release to be at the end of 2013, only time will tell.
Over the years it has become apparent to myself that more and more platforms have been created and technology has evolved and converged. Music is more accessible and even accessing music which has not been officially released is also accessible. However, alot more restriction to content has been made. As a musician myself, this can be a good and bad thing. When I write a song, pay money to record and upload it or print it on a CD, I don’t always necessarily want people to take it and re write it as their own. But I do get a sense of accomplishment when I hear someone creating a cover of it. As much as we would like to re interpret a piece of content, there are many rules and restrictions that say we can’t. Not many people realise they are the criminals every time they download a song illegally even though the platform to download from it is highly accessable. A good example of this is The Pirate bay, a site that shares files. And even though this site is deemed illegal, the creators state that this wbiste is like a portal to the content; they dont have the content on their computer.
Even sharing files that you bought but uploaded to a server, which obviously is the basis of what The Pirate Bay is, and share the content is even breaking the law. I think that this is big wall in the creativity of our society and sharing of information. If original thought doesn’t exist then creating a completely new and original piece of material is almost impossible. artists feed off other ideas to inspire them to create. And as more and more restrictions are being made to content, less and less creativity is made and we are left in a world filled with no ideas and imagination. Life would be soulless.
Because of this absurd copyright law, many artists are releasing content which is free. For example, Nine Inch Nails (Trent Reznor), released The Slip album in 2008 for free under Creative Commons which was 100% free from copyright laws. This album which had a lot of success was because of the lack of restrictions on the content. Trent gave full access to his works saying
‘we encourage you to
share it with your friends,
post it on your blog,
play it on your podcast,
give it to strangers,
Trent encourages listeners to engage with his material. A lot of his success has been because of self promotion.
- If the world we lived wasnt all about control, the content would be shared freely and there wouldn’t be a need for illegal downloading. After all, there is no such thing as original thought.