Monday, February 14, 2011

Media and Culture...not just a class title...

The readings for this week appear to be pointing to the fact that media operate effectively as tools within our society, and that when one views media as tools we are more likely to effectively evaluate both the positives and pitfalls. Innis spoke of the role of technology in destroying culture and society, while Riesman et. al spoke of the ability of the press to emancipate individuals from the criticisms of their neighbor. So it appears that media can work for both positive and negative gains in that "words not only affect us temporarily; they change us, the socialize us or unsocialize us…print can powerfully rationalize models which tell people what they ought to be like" (Riesman et. al, p. 297).

This simple fact proves significant due to Bell's and Lang & Lang's understandings that the evolution of our technologies and communication patterns have brought individuals closer together in powerful ways.  Due to the fact that technology allow us to "test" our interpretation of the world with those around us, "tremors in one part of society affect all others" (Bell, p. 365).  While media may be somewhat susceptible to manipulations, I would agree with Lang & Lang, McLuhan, and Bell in that the real problems of society lie not in our ability utilize new and more effective modes of communication, but rather in "social tensions that are an expression of unfulfilled expectations" (Bell, p. 369).

Below I have attached a video that was released in 1948 that spoke of the dangers of "-isms" (I think you will readily notice where the the emphasis lies), that illustrates Riesman et. al's claim that in the modern age we train our children to understand symbolic meanings, while also showing fears over the loss over our cherished particular attention (or fast-forward) to the clip around the 8:15 mark.

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