Dr. George Pacheco
Angelo State University
The Perpetual Controversy of the Influence of Films on World Culture
Through extensive research this paper will examine the idea of movies/film influencing culture. Is it films that influence us or is it us that influence films? “The film business today is a billion dollar industry that has grown tremendously over time. In 2007 alone, the U.S. spent roughly $930 billion on the media industry as a whole.” (Media & Entertainment, 2009) Now it would seem quite apparent that between culture and film at least one of them heavily influences the other. It’s also necessary to imagine the possibility that we are in a world in which film and our culture could be simultaneously influencing each other. In order to better understand the idea of all this we must first understand both film and culture separately. So we will start first with looking at them as totally separate individual ideas and try to understand them on a very basic and individually level.
Culture can mean a variety of things depending on the context in which you use the word. The word culture itself can range from the total of the inherited ideas, beliefs, values, and knowledge, which constitute the shared bases of social action all the way to the artistic and social pursuits, expression, and tastes valued by a society or class, as in the arts, manners, dress, etc. (The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, 2011) In reading, it is important to understand these two definitions are very different in meaning. Hence, we are going to narrow it down to a more singular meaning which is most beneficial to our research. We will focus on the idea of culture as the attitudes, feelings, values, and behavior that characterize and inform society as a whole or any social group within it. Considering the fact that culture is everywhere we will base our research on world culture. Now this may sound like a very broad spectrum, but since this research will eventually be tied back to the ideas of the film industry it is most plausible to use everyone who is involved with any part of movies and/or film which today includes just about every individual around the globe. When thinking on a very basic level influencing the entire world as a whole considering the size of the world and the, quite literally, billions of people inhabiting the earth it seems virtually impossible. However, history has proven that given the right amount of time and perseverance of a very powerful idea this is entirely possible. In an article written by CNN’s very own Mairi Mackay she discussed thoroughly ten ideas that influenced the world. To give you a few examples she goes on to express the ideas of “farming, Sigmund Freud’s ideas on the unconscious mind, Einstein’s formula E=Mc2, Vaccinations, the World Wide Web, the idea of gravity and more”. (Mackay, 2008) These are just a few things that started off very small and some even began with a wide disbelief, but given time all of these ideas would go on to be some of the greatest things that changed the world into what we know it to be today. Now, given that, it is plain to see that the idea of the film industry having a major influence over world culture is not so crazy after all. The idea of how easily influenced we are as a culture is a more opinion based concept and therefore can’t really be proven. It is more logical to research over the ideas and examples of culture being influenced, rather than how difficult or easily that task can be accomplished. It isn’t a shot in the dark to say that today’s culture is quite easily influenced more than ever. All it takes is planting a very basic idea in the mind and that idea can grow to become something entirely different. A single idea can be something in which we revolve our whole life around. In essence, this idea can pretty much grow to become us and in turn be the...