Influence of Visual Media Paul Kilpatrick Media and American Culture/HUM/176 6/4/2012 Instructor: Patricia Singh For over a hundred years, some form of visual entertainment media has deeply impacted our society’s culture and values. Movies, for example, are sometimes designed to evoke a particular feeling or make us evaluate our personal and social values (Media and Culture Ch. 6).
Movies like Bowling for Columbine and Super-Size Me, tell a story based on someone’s personal experience or view on a particular topic; in this case, these two films are designed to make a person think about our social, political, and health standards in this country. Other times, movies are designed to simply entertain by telling a story that makes a person laugh or cry. Television, another example, has been a constant source of visual entertainment since the 1950’s providing news on current events, reminding us of our past, providing us with comedy, drama, and reality entertainment.
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Plus, television has provided a forum for politics, allowing republicans, democrats, and independents to voice their opinions on the state of our country and how to manage it. Television has always been criticized for promoting violence, sex, teen pregnancy, and our country’s growing obesity problem, but television has also been a way of bringing this country together and giving Americans the ability to open our minds to social and cultural changes like the civil rights movement and to draw strength from tragedy like the Kennedy Assassination or the Space shuttle Challenger explosion (Media and Culture Ch. ). There have always been pros as well as cons to visual media entertainment. In this day and age it is difficult to gauge whether the pros out way the cons because of all the different ways to access visual entertainment. When I was a kid, we had 10 channels and cartoons were really only on in the mornings and early afternoons. Now cartoons are on television all the time and some have questionable content. There are literally hundreds of channels to choose from; each providing their own brand of entertainment whether it be good natured or inappropriate.
Now a person can view television shows, news, movies, or videos from sites such as YouTube, from a computer, cell phone, or Ipad allowing limitless access to different forms of visual entertainment. Although there are positive things about this expansion of visual media such as keeping the public better informed in our nation’s and world events, public and political opinions, and different ways of expressing one’s art, the downside is that it is more difficult to monitor what our children are exposed to on television and the internet.
So even though we have made great technological advancements in the past 20 years, I am reminded of a statement by the actor Jeff Goldblum in the 1993 blockbuster film Jurassic Park: “It should not be whether or not we could, but whether or not we should. ” Meaning that just because we can expose ourselves constantly with different forms of visual entertainment does not mean we should. In conclusion, visual media has a big influence on social behavior and attitudes and in turn reflects what is considered the social norm.
Movies and television for example, have always been influential in informing us what behavior is considered socially acceptable. Television shows like Ozzy and Harriet and Leave it to Beaver in the 1950s, showed us what the ideal American family should look and act like. This ideal was blown out of the water in the 1960s with the creation of shows like The Brady Bunch, which depicts two divorced parents getting married and raising their children from different marriages.
Or The Partridge Family, which depicts a single mother who travels around in a multicolored bus with her children, who perform in a rock band. Our society is constantly evolving to the next level of existence and visual media will always have a hand in influencing our cultural standards and reflecting them through different forms of visual entertainment and news. References Campbell, R. , Martin, C. R. & Fabos, B (2012) Media & culture: An introduction to mass communication (8th. ) New York, NY: Bedford/St. Martin’s Chapter 6 Pg. 184-217 Campbell, R. , Martin, C. R. , & Fabos, B (2012) Media & culture: An introduction to mass communication (8th. ) New York, NY: Bedford/St. Martin’s. Chapter 5 Pg. 142-183 Jurassic Park 1993, directed by Steven Spielberg, written by David Koepp and Michael Crichton produced by Amblin Entertainment, distributed by Universal Studios