Mass Media and Entertainment

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I’ll go ahead and say it: Neal Gabler's "Life the Movie" makes valid points. Because of America's dependence on technology-based media entertainment it is impossible not to interact with the distracting and alluring world of expressive communication. The world we live in today is sadly not the one that Henry David Thoreau was able to circumnavigate for two years in 1845. Today, to avoid media, is to be totally shut away from the world. Gone are the days of subtle newsprint and objective journalism. They have been trampled by 24-hour news cycles and narcissism-based social networking sights like Twitter and Facebook. While I can’t help but agree with Gabler on the media’s degenerative effects, there is a brighter side to a globalized system of entertainment. Entertainment can certainly ruin society if given the chance. Take for instance, MTV’s “Jersey Shore”. A show with absolutely no moral integrity, but simple humor and sex appeal can make money, so realistically; executives will invest in more of the same material. At the same time, hate/fear-mongering media moguls like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh have a devoted, if not cult-like following of 60-somethings that they control in the name of “entertainment”. Clearly, entertainment has the capacity to ruin the structure of society, for better or worse. Whereas sites like Twitter and Facebook can be detrimental to society, they can also cause positive progress. Very recently, young Iranian revolutionaries used Twitter as a means of communication, education, and unity. Videos of citizens beaten to death in the streets were accompanied by calls to action, as a youthful and courageous Iranian population revolted against its oppressive government on the computer and TV screens of the globalized world. Furthermore, recent crisis like the tsunamis in Indonesia, hurricane in New Orleans, and earthquakes in Haiti were brought into the homes of the prosperous and caring across the world. Although tragic, these events demonstrated the capacity that a connected human populous has for charity. Billions of dollars in relief money has been donated in the past decade, thanks to the stirring images captured not only by corporate cameramen, but also by civilian camcorder. Thus, to define entertainment as solely destructive or beneficial is unjust. People are not always wise enough to turn off what they know is subjective information, but they are no means praying to neon gods.

In his book "Life the Movie," Neal Gabler discusses how entertainment has taken over the reality. This is true in every way: people watch television or movies, listen to music, and Facebook stalk their friends just to get out of their own heads for a while. It is an escape from their realities. Gabler argues that the outlet the media has come to provide can potentially ruin society. This is true in many cases. Certain forms of entertainment can indeed "overturn all morality" and "poison the springs of domestic happiness."  Music, specifically, is one type of entertainment that has the capacity to cause people to compromise their morals. It has a sneaky way of planting new thoughts in our minds. Music artists think of lyrical euphemisms to subtly engrain an idea into their listeners minds. For example, in their song "Fast Blood," the ingenious Scottish band Frightened Rabbit sings about a "midnight organ fight--" a clever euphemism for sex. Even if their listener wasn't sure what that line meant, the rest of the lyrics would help him piece it together fairly quickly. It's a beautiful song, and soon enough, the listener finds himself singing along, and the idea that sex allows a person to feel "reborn" has now become a belief of this listener. And, whabam, there we have a compromised moral resulting from the idea of one song.  The characters and stories found in movies, books, and television are aspects of entertainment that most certainly have the ability to ruin society. They can jeopardize a family's happiness by...
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