Daily Archives: April 4, 2007

Mass Media Dystopia

We find ourselves asking questions about why our children are running amok. Recent news stories have revealed the dark underbelly of what goes on in our schools. Fellow bloggers, Al Walentis, Mike Zielinski, and Holly Herman, have offered significant input on the controversy. And the comments section of their blogs reveal the concern of our readers. Most everyone has an opinion about what is the cause of our children’s bad behavior. My own explanation of what is wrong with all of us – parents and children alike – follows:*3 hours/day of TV = 3 hours/day of radio =3 hours/day of exposure to billboards and product advertising =3 hours/week of movies =3 hours/week of magazines/newspapers =3 hours/week of commercial Internet =3 hours/week of talking about media subjects =the stats are no mystery. Add to or subtract from the above. Arrive at your own numbers. Thousands of hours each year immersed in media. Living in it. Not in the world.When not attending directly to it, we replay it in our heads.Rehearsing movie roles, TV characters.Thinking about them.Fantasizing. Fixated on them. Pop stars. Celebrities. Rock and roll idols.Supermodels. News anchors. People in ads.Trying to look like them.Trying to act like them.Repeating their words to ourselves.Thinking their thoughts.We like to believe we can resist their hold on us.It’s easier when you see it in another group.Kids, for example.Forget the subliminal issues.Just look at the surface.Look at what’s obvious.Looking at what’s obvious.Occasionally, for a moment at a time, pay attention to your thoughts. How would you describe them? Ordered? Rational? do they seem to be a big jumble of adolescent rambling, self-criticism, obsessive-compulsive spontaneous repetitions of pieces of previous thoughts, parts of old scripts, generally negative self-image-wise? What could be causing this?1500 commercial messages a day enter our minds. Do we have nearly 1500 ordered, edited, professionally produced personal thoughts in a day? Do ordered, edited, professionally produced, manipulative commercial messages seem more coherent than our normal thoughts? Imagine one’s self-image being molded from an early age by commercial messages. One’s self-image is a pretty deep part of oneself, wouldn’t you say? How about what we think of others? Does what we think of others seem affected, colored, influenced by commercial messages of what is the ideal way to be? Do the commercial representations of the ideal way to be affect our self-image as they do our judgment of others? How about what we think of the world and our place in it? Affected, influenced by commercial messages?This topic is about the messages that surround us and their effect on us. Make some progress by just pausing for a few moments and reflecting on what you have just read.And think about what you are about to see…The guy looks pretty anxiety ridden. Here he is, booking down hard for some purpose. Whatever it is, the implication is that he hasn’t yet “made it” – accomplished his goal in life. He looks pretty concerned. But he is almost there. The universal goal for guys is presumed to be to get a home for him and his girl to start a life together. The pressure is on. The girl’s strap is down on her dress, she’s breathing heavily, and she’s got her heel in her crotch while her hand is in the same place. She can hardly wait for this guy to come up with the goods. They are out in a field somewhere. She is hot and he is falling behind in his responsibility. He knows it is his responsibility to “get a room” or by extension a place to bed down together. “All the solutions you need. All in one place.” He needs solutions quick- the message is “C’mon dude, get it together and take care of this hottie or you will lose her. We can help. Get a home loan from us and the object of your desire will be yours.” All this happens in an instant. A mini-drama imperceptible to the conscious mind but available after extended study. Ads are made to be apprehended in 2 or 3 seconds – flipping a magazine, driving by a billboard. I have an MFA in Fine Art and have been trained for many years to analyze visual images. But I can not consciously perceive and analyze the messages that are conveyed here in 2 or 3 seconds. The eyes and brain however, catch them instantaneously. The emotional impact of the image enters the unconscious. Deep-seated fears and urges are unleashed. And the solution to all of this precipitous passion and anxiety is within reach: a Fleet Home Loan… The most important parts of this type of message are unconsciously perceived. If we look critically and study this material we can gain some measure of awareness of what is or might be going on. Everything we use on a daily basis has been advertised to us by methods like this. Why did we choose the products we have surrounded ourselves with? Not only that, we pay for the costs of marketing these products to ourselves.TFD

Leave a comment

Filed under ARTology Now