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Author Topic: The Subtle Power of Hollywood
TheSteelenGeneral
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quote:
Originally posted by jasonr:
And while there may be something in us that makes us "want" it (or perhaps more accurately, makes us "susceptible" to it), it's probably wrong to say that we really asked for it.

Dude, the thousands of shows that gets canceled every week (yes, a hyperbole) might severely disagree with you.

Then again, it's an interesting question: Should we give "the people" the crap/violent/superficial/bradybunchy shows they so desparately seem to want?
AFAIK, the answer by american society has been a deafening YES!!!!


quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
Isn't it funny that one can be an avid consumer of American media and yet use it to judge American culture?

If your point is, "how can all these furreinners watch usa tv and still not like us?", then, well, there's no contradiction.

Maybe it's not so much the culture that gets judged as the foreign policies.
American TV gives you a feeling of "and justice for all". This is in astounding opposite of U.S. foreign policy, which is about oil, greed, me-me-me and the creation of a corporate ruling class (which goes against that very american culture of equality).

As for mynion:
The point RickyB and DonaldD etc were making in reference to control and influence is that you don't really seem to distinguish between the two.

You seem to say: Hollywood has control over what we do and think as a society. If that were really true, then the last 9 presidents would've been all Democrats.
Do you agree that there's a crucial difference between control and influence?
Extremely, you can read books or get a satellite dish.

[ November 22, 2007, 12:33 PM: Message edited by: TheSteelenGeneral ]

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Funean
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quote:
If your point is, "how can all these furreinners watch usa tv and still not like us?", then, well, there's no contradiction.

I actually thought it was more like shopping at Kmart and, while shopping, sneering at the other shoppers for shopping at Kmart.

I don't actually see much contradiction, either. No reason why a person purveying American media wouldn't form opinions, even damning ones, on that basis. Everyone looks at trainwrecks, too, but few will admit to thinking they're good or something that should be emulated. Irony, now, that's present in spades.

I suspect that the appeal of American media even in locales that are hostile or less than friendly to American culture is ubiquity, availabilty (few if any countries produce as much recorded entertainment as the US), high production values, variety and fascination with a culture which, however you might feel about it, must seem passing dominant worldwide.

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OceanRunner
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quote:
I suspect that the appeal of American media even in locales that are hostile or less than friendly to American culture is ubiquity, availabilty (few if any countries produce as much recorded entertainment as the US), high production values, variety and fascination with a culture which, however you might feel about it, must seem passing dominant worldwide.
Anecdotally, some folks I work with claim that as Iraqis gain more access to satellite TV, they're more accepting of our culture and values; it makes us seem more real and human, and makes it harder to villianize the west. I mean, sure, we're a perverse, decadent culture, but... we do have some fun. And who, watching MTV's "Laguna Beach" or "The Real Housewives of Orange County" or "WWF Smackdown", could believe that the US is really capable (or interested) in world conquest and colonization?
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OceanRunner
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I'm reading a book right now, "Where the Girls Are", about how women have been depicted in television and how that has interconnected with the women's rights movement - and of course also indicts some of the attitudes represented today. Given the subject under discussion I flipped to the back of the book where it talks about invoking media change - in this case for sexist media imagery, but it applies across the board: not only can you turn off the TV, not buy crappy magazines, etc, but you can also write in to media outlets to let them know what you don't appreciate (especially since even if you turn off the TV, it seems to be impossible to avoid). I don't know, honestly, how much anyone cares if you do those things though... I guess some folks have made progress in terms of protesting anorexic models and such, and now there are some more reasonably proportioned models displayed amongst the rest... and we rarely see smoking in TV or movies now, especially not portrayed in a positive fashion. Those are a few negative things which have improved to some extent. I wonder how many folks it took to provoke those changes to those varying degrees.

I think we all have a love/hate relationship with mass media. A lot of what the media shows does not necessarily agree with our personal values, but... who wants to be disconnected from pop culture? I like knowing what's going on, even if I roll my eyes at it.

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Mynnion
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quote:
As for mynion:
The point RickyB and DonaldD etc were making in reference to control and influence is that you don't really seem to distinguish between the two.

There is a very fine line between the two. I you listen to the "Left" you will hear that the conservative commentators are manipulating the news to promote their views and values. If you listen to the "Right" you will see the entire media accused of having a liberal agenda (I guess they don't watch Fox News).

If you don't believe that the media has the ability to control why is the first thing a dictator does after a coup is to take over the control of TV, radio, newspapers, and now the internet? Can't the people just turn it off?

The idea that I am trying to get across is the idea of "control through influence." When something is shown as normal/OK often enough society starts to believe it. Look at the total commercialization of culture. When was the last time you saw a normal middle class or poor kid on TV unless the story line revolved around poverty? Every kid has basically unlimited funding for their own computer, cell phone, big screen TV, etc. They come to expect these things because that is what they and their friends see as normal. Heaven forbid that they be out of contact for a minute. How did we middle-agers survive childhood?

If you are influencing what is seen and read then you are to some degree controlling society. When only a few mega corps control the majority of what we see and hear they have the ability to control society.

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Rallan
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quote:
Originally posted by TheSteelenGeneral:

You seem to say: Hollywood has control over what we do and think as a society. If that were really true, then the last 9 presidents would've been all Democrats.
Do you agree that there's a crucial difference between control and influence?
Extremely, you can read books or get a satellite dish.

Actually they'd all have been Republicans. Screw actors and their namby-pamby liberal cause of the month ribbon campaigns. The folks who actually run Hollywood are businessmen, and if they ever stumbled upon a way of using film and television to steer American politics, they'd have us voting for whoever's promising to lower taxes and dilute the legal protections of employees.
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KnightEnder
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quote:
I actually thought it was more like shopping at Kmart and, while shopping, sneering at the other shoppers for shopping at Kmart.
Fun, you gotta admit those shoppers that flock to the "blue light special" deserve derision. [Wink]

KE

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kenmeer livermaile
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"I suspect that the appeal of American media even in locales that are hostile or less than friendly to American culture is ubiquity, availabilty (few if any countries produce as much recorded entertainment as the US), high production values, variety and fascination with a culture which, however you might feel about it, must seem passing dominant worldwide."

Tonight, on Roman Empire: Inside the Belly of the Beast...

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kenmeer livermaile
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"I think we all have a love/hate relationship with mass media. A lot of what the media shows does not necessarily agree with our personal values, but... who wants to be disconnected from pop culture? I like knowing what's going on, even if I roll my eyes at it."

Pop culture is a word too big and small at the same time for an individual's tastes. But mass media? Gotta love it. Lets weirdos like me share their favorite examples of pop culture:

Transcendental Schmaltz

This guy was the biggest selling record star of the 20s, along with Enrico Caruso and John McCormack.

[ November 26, 2007, 11:49 AM: Message edited by: kenmeer livermaile ]

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drewmie
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Lately, I am far more disturbed by the insidious inclusion of inappropriate commercials and trailers before G-rated films in movie theaters. I took my kids to see Bee Movie, and it was a lot of fun, EXCEPT for a lot that preceded it, including:
  • Citizen Soldiers - A full-length National Guard recruitment music video of a "3 Doors Down" tune that sounds like every other pseudo-angst, watered-down-Nirvana-wannabe band today, but without even a fraction of the talent. That's offensive enough, [Wink] but not really why I objected. Though not really graphic, it showed a lot of shooting at people. It showed victims suffering and being rescued, including a seriously wounded captive soldier and a small boy hiding under his house's rubble. Let me be clear: this is good, positive, effective propoganda. BUT IT ISN'T G-RATED!
  • A trailer for "Drillbit Taylor," the latest Owen Wilson comedy where he is hired by some teenage wimps to pose as a teacher in their high school and protect them from some bullies. Wackiness ensues. I like Owen; I might see it. BUT IT ISN'T G-RATED. There's plenty of innuendo, and a comment about "kicking their ass." This is likely to be PG-13. What are they thinking?
  • Other non-G-rated trailers of non-G-rated movies.
  • Plenty of non-G-rated commercials for products that don't usually get to advertise during children's programming on TV. One was a highly sexualized car commercial.
I think all of these things should be available, but I am REALLY ticked off that they completely ignored the rating of the movie, thereby ignoring the reasonable expectations that parents had of the content of the film. Heck, show porn trailers for all I care. But not with G-rated movies!
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scifibum
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drewmie, i'm completely with you. "This preview has been approved for all audiences" or whatever it says is about the most meaningless attempt at rating content i've ever witnessed - they have violence, sex, nudity excluding nipples and genitalia, and pretty much everything that gets a movie a non-g rating in those trailers that are supposedly OK for "all audiences."
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Jesse
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What the heck gets a G rating anymore?

Shrek 3? PG. I do NOT understand.

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kenmeer livermaile
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If parents care that much about the movies their kids see, they'll screen 'em themselves. Like anyone has any good reason to trust a Hollywood/government rating body.
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