Wednesday, January 25, 2012

No, I don’t believe that aliens crashed in Roswell in 1947

If you read my blog on a regular basis, you probably know I write a substantial number of articles revolving around the subject of the media culture. But what exactly is a media culture? The media is pretty straightforward. Practically any form of electronic entertainment makes up the media. This would include television programs, movies, internet content, video games, news and virtually all other forms of electronic images.

The concept of culture is more complex. It certainly involves more than going to the opera. Culture is a shared consciousness of a particular society. It affects our behaviors, attitudes and beliefs. Culture, by its nature, helps to define our worldview and point-of-view. This process helps us to interpret the world around us and acts as a lens through which we view politics, religion, philosophy, and lifestyle choices. Culture also plays a major part in the development of our institutions such as government, schools, and churches.

Put quite simply, culture provides the framework in which society functions and operates. Obviously, not everyone within our culture thinks alike or has the same view of our world. But culture provides a baseline or foundation in which acceptable behaviors or customs are allowed to occur.

In theory, culture should drive and define our society. That’s the way it has worked throughout the history of mankind. But in the past few decades, something unique has happened to American. Where culture should drive media, 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.

The media culture has had the added effect where we have created a society which is more uniform and harmonious. I’m convinced we are far more compliant and willing to conform to the central message driving today’s media culture. Many may argue how is this possible in light of a society which seems to be divided. Obviously, there is a great debate about the future of America. There seems to be a great divide between Democrats, Republicans, Liberals, Conservatives and Progressives. There is also a generational divide between baby boomers and millennials. But are we really that different in our philosophy and thinking?

I believe that below the surface of our public discord we will find a society that is far more influenced and controlled by the media culture than anyone can possibly believe. Although we may express our feelings and viewpoints differently, we are motivated by the same forces. Whether we are on the right or the left, we have embraced a philosophy that positions us in the center of our own universe. In other words, we are self-centered. Without a doubt, this is the core message of today’s media culture.

So some questions remain. Why do we have a media culture? Who benefits from it? The short answer is business primarily benefits from the existence of a media culture. In order to maximize profits, business must control the culture. But business cannot do this without the help and support of the media. It’s through the use and the manipulation of the media that business controls and dominates our culture.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not one to believe in conspiracies. No, I don’t believe that aliens crashed in Roswell in 1947 and the United States government participated in a massive cover-up. Nor do I believe in Bigfoot. And I certainly do not believe that JFK was assinated by the CIA or the FBI. And I don’t believe business leaders gather to discuss how they are going to dominate and control our culture in order to sell us their goods and products. Whether intentionally, unintentionally or organically, a media culture has emerged in our society.

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