Sunday, June 20, 2010

What is a Media Culture? - Part 3

Today we live in a society where media defines and creates culture. That’s why I call it a media culture. In fact, the two are indistinguishable from each other. It’s impossible to determine where media ends or culture begins. And what proof can I offer to you of its existence and impact? I believe I could get a conviction in any court of law through direct and circumstantial evidence wherein I’m convinced no one could possibly have reasonable doubt to the existence of a media culture and its impact on our society. Here are my ten arguments.

6. A new value system. What values are being communicated in our media culture? What’s important to us, and what occupies our time and interests? Today our media stars have been embraced and turned into gods. We are in love with celebrity. But what really motivates us and what we seek is what celebrity represents—power wealth and fame. This is the new value system that preoccupies our society. Movie stars, athletes, models, and TV personalities are who we emulate and desire to be.

But what about those who contribute the most to society? Teachers, public servants, social workers. Are they exalted and well paid? How we view celebrity reveals a great deal about who we are as a people.

7. We no longer have a moral compass. There was a time when there was a clear right and wrong. Today’s modern media culture has convinced us that everything is ambiguous; therefore, the individual must decide what is right or wrong based on current circumstances. How else can you explain millions of abortions since the early 1970s or the fact that over 40% of children born in the United States are from unwed mothers. Only a media culture could explain the rapid collapse of basic moral principles that have occurred in a relatively short time.

8. Judeo-Christian ideas and philosophy are fading. Whether or not America was ever a Christian nation, our nation was most certainly based and established on Judeo-Christian concepts. Whether you are a Christian or not, historically you respected the integrity and truth of the Judeo-Christian message. That’s no longer true today. We are moving from a Judeo-Christian society and transforming into something completely different. No one can say with any certainty what that will look like.

9. The rapid rate of change. Culture, in and of itself, changes over the course of time like a meandering river. In other words, it takes time for change to occur. Within a media culture, change is rapid and sudden. Isn’t that the world we currently live in? Worldviews seem to change like the sifting sands. Nothing is solid. Obviously, technology plays a part in this rapid and ever-changing media culture in which we find ourselves. But it is the ideas that really drive the forces of change.

10. The psychology of selling. We are convinced that our next buying purchase will truly lead us to fulfillment and happiness. Today’s marketing is enormously complex and dependent on psychological manipulation. A product today has the ability to transform and define our lives. We become the person we have always wanted to be through the use of the product. It can make us look younger or older. Or it can create the image that we wish to project. In some ways, we become the product. In fact, our lifestyle is based on its use. Only a media culture could create this type of influence and impact.

Final Thoughts

When we think of the media or try to understand it, we don’t view it in terms of a “media culture”. But we see it as the images on our widescreen televisions or the images projected in our multiplexes. Obviously the media and the general concept of a media culture is much more than this. The media culture can be a difficult concept to embrace, but its existence is as real as the air we breathe. Think of it as an invisible force that surrounds us. In some ways, it affects every part of our lives and the choices we make. Just like radiation, we cannot often see it, feel it, touch it or taste it. But the media culture is just as real as the damaging effects from low dosages of radiation. Both have the ability to change us from the inside out.

I have presented my evidence. Do you believe I can get a conviction? The real question is what can we do to change our current situation? A Media Culture, Crisis or Opportunity, The Rise of the Media Missionary offers five key concepts that can change our culture and the course of our media culture. They are practical and obtainable. What we don’t need are theories or theoretical solutions but solutions that are practical and obtainable.

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